Crazy Horse Memorial Quick Facts

Who was Henry Standing Bear?

Henry Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Chief who invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to carve a memorial honoring all North American Indians.

How do I pronounce Korczak Ziolkowski?

Korczak Ziolkowski [core-chalk jewel-cuff-ski] is the sculptor of Crazy Horse.

What year did Korczak Ziolkowski come to the Black Hills?

1939 – Korczak Ziolkowski, a noted New England sculptor, first came to the Black Hills to help Gutzon Borglum on Mount Rushmore. That year Korczak also won first prize for his Carrara marble portrait, “PADEREWSKI, Study of an Immortal,” at the New York World’s Fair. Chief Standing Bear read news reports of Korczak’s achievements and invited him to create a mountainous tribute to the North American Indians.

When did Korczak officially return to start the monument?

May 3, 1947 – Korczak Ziolkowski returned to the sacred Black Hills to create a monument of Crazy Horse. He came at the invitation of Chief Henry Standing Bear

When was the first blast on the Mountain?

June 3, 1948 – First blast on the Mountain. Five survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn attended.

What is a "production blast"?

In our environment, production blast, refers to drilling and blasting techniques that remove many tons of rock from the Mountain at a time. Production Blasts move the 20 foot high face on the bench back toward finished grade at 6 to 8 feet per blast. At about twenty feet from finished grade, we start to transit from production blasts to smaller less powerful blasts, and finally to rock removal by hand – to preserve the integrity of the finished surface we are working toward.

What is the Memorial's mission?

The mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. The Foundation demonstrates its commitment to this endeavor by continuing the progress on the world’s largest sculptural undertaking by carving a Memorial of Lakota leader Crazy Horse; by providing educational and cultural programming; by acting as a repository for American Indian artifacts, arts and crafts through the INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and the NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL & CULTURAL CENTER ®; and by establishing and operating the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.

What are the mineral components of the Mountain?

Crazy Horse Memorial is being carved in the Black Hills, which are among the earth’s oldest geological formations by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and the family of Korczak & Ruth Ziolkowski the rock from the Mountain contains many minerals. All of the individual mineral, rock & gemstones found on the Mountain form what is called pegmatite granite.

  • Tourmaline- a group of several closely related minerals, which is black in color.
  • Iron (Oxidized)- a chemical compound composed of iron and oxygen, also known as rust.
  • Garnet- a group of minerals which form a gemstone red in color.
  • Feldspar- a group of rock minerals that make up 60% of the Earth’s crust, often pink or white in color and chalky in texture.
  • Quartz- a very common mineral which occurs in nearly all mineral environments.
  • Mica (Muscovite)- a group of minerals forming thin transparent layers and well known for its shine, glitter and sparkle it is often found in granite rock and slate.
  • Beryl- a mineral composite with gemstone varieties including emerald. The beryl on the Mountain is a greenish- yellow color variety.
  • Pyrite (Fool’s Gold)- a brass-yellow mineral with a metallic luster.

How many visitors come to Crazy Horse?

The Crazy Horse Memorial complex is open year-round and work continues on the Mountain throughout the year! We are proud to host over ONE MILLION visitors per year!

Did you know?

  • Crazy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest Mountain Carving in progress.
  • Korczak Ziolkowski married Ruth Ross Thanksgiving day, 1950
  • Korczak and Ruth had 10 children, five girls and five boys.
  • Four of the 10 children and many of the 23 grandchildren still work on the project.

How is the Memorial financed?

The Memorial does not accept federal or state funding. The project is financed by admissions and contributions.

  • “No one is ever wrong who desires to do that which is not required of them to do — and that which is of a noble purpose. The purpose of Crazy Horse is noble.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes also.”
    Chief Henry Standing Bear
  • “When the legends die, the dreams end. When the dreams end, there is no more greatness.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “The Important thing is that we never stop. That’s the main thing. And if you looked at it as strictly a view of being finished, you could get awfully distracted waiting for that day to come. This way, you’re pleased with every little step of progress that you make.”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.”
    Crazy Horse
  • “By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwile.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “He left everything so we can carry on his work, and that’s just what we’re going to do. We’re dedicated to that. His whole life would be wasted if the mountain carving and the humanitarian goals are not completed.”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”
    Crazy Horse
  • “If it weren’t for each and every one you, whether your gift was small or large monetarily, whether it was friendship and encouragement, without you we wouldn’t be here…”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “Standing Bear explained that the Indian has a concept of honoring their great heroes that’s totally different from the white man’s. It was difficult for me to understand at first…The Indian uses the direct approach. He says: that man was my ancestor, and he was a great man, so we should honor him-I would not lie or cheat because I am his blood”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor

Crazy Horse Memorial
12151 Avenue of the Chiefs
Crazy Horse, SD 57730-8900

(605) 673-4681


Upcoming Events

  • Memorial Weekend
    May 25-28

    Memorial Weekend <br />May 26-29,<br /> 2017
    Native American’s across this great nation have served and sacrificed in the United States Military, join us to honor all fallen heroes who fought and protected our freedom. American Indian artists will be featured throughout the Welcome Center. Admission to the Memorial will be waived with 3 cans of food per person.
  • Legends in Light
    May 25-Sep 30

    Legends in Light<br /> May 26-Oct 1<br />
    This spectacular light show tells the story of the Memorial in laser lights projected onto the Mountain. You will be treated to the story of Chief Henry Standing Bear’s invitation to Korczak, Ruth’s contributions and special features of many Native American heroes. This must see show is featured nightly at dark, for sun down times click here:
  • Native Americans’Day
    Oct 8

    Native Americans’ Day  Oct 10, 2016
    Governor George S. Mickelson and the SD legislature declared 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation”, the day formerly known as Columbus Day became Native American Day. Native American Day at Crazy Horse Memorial is celebrated by planned activities for kids, program and performers, Educator of the Year is awarded and (weather permitting) a mountain blast. Admission is waved to the Memorial with 3 cans of food per person.