Crazy Horse Memorial® has progressed through a great many changes since the June 3rd, 1948 dedication of the one-of-a-kind educational and humanitarian project. What began as a dream, turned into a friendship sealed with promise, and continues to unfold as a story unlike any other. Transitioning from the time of Chief Henry Standing Bear communicating the importance of the project, to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski's un-wavering commitment to fulfilling a promise, to matriarch Ruth Ziolkowski's determination to advance the Foundation's mission, the story has now entered its fourth era. This part of the story contains a committed Board of Directors and Executive Management Team dedicated to leading the nonprofit 501(c)3 ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation continuing the Dream of Crazy Horse Memorial that first came into being almost 75 years ago, when Standing Bear wrote to Korczak inviting him to carve a Memorial to honor Native peoples.
The Memorial's namesake, Oglala Lakota leader Crazy Horse, and the founders of Crazy Horse Memorial–Chief Henry Standing Bear (1874-1953), Korczak (1908-1982) and Ruth (1926-2014) Ziolkowski continue to serve as examples of discernment, determination, courage, faith, imagination, fortitude, freedom, promise, strength, and character. Their stories continue to inspire and they live on through the work at the Memorial with the Ziolkowski family and American Indians at the Foundation's core along with administrators, staff, faculty, and students from all walks of life and ethnicities who also commit their lives to advancing the Foundation's robust mission and vision. Ultimately, Crazy Horse Memorial®, which honors all indigenous people of North America, stands as a reminder of the importance of reconciliation, respecting differences, embracing diversity, striving for unity, and appreciating life's deeper meaning as it has always been represented in Native American cultural values. This will never change.
Today, Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is governed by a diverse Board of Directors, which includes Native and non-Native members. The Foundation is led by an Interim CEO, Joseph A. Konkol, and supported by talented staff. The Board of Directors and the leadership of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation are committed to carry on the Dream. Their passion for progress in all aspects of the Foundation's mission "to protect and preserve the culture, tradition, and living heritage of the North American Indians" is strong as is the desire to keep the promise Korczak made to Standing Bear.
Ultimately, the future of ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation continues to take shape – a future in which a mission will continue to be met, a dream will continue to resonate, and an educational and humanitarian project will continue to endure. A project that began with a letter has grown into an icon of history, culture, and humanity. This was made possible through the work of a dedicated man and woman as well as the diligent staff, Board of Directors, and supportive visitors. And now, with the help of the Interim CEO along with the diverse staff and students, the Memorial will continue to possess far-reaching implications for both the State of South Dakota and the Nation. Consequently, a new horizon awaits for this vibrant 501(c)3 Foundation -- spread out before the world as an example of what can be, what should be, and what will one day be . . . a dream realized.