Apply At Crazy Horse Memorial

Please fill out the form below and click submit at the bottom when finished. Thank you for your application.

The senior leadership team of Crazy Horse Memorial® is called the Executive Management Team, which is comprised of two Chief Executive Officers, daughters of Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski and a non-family President and Chief Operating Officer.

Ms. Jadwiga Ziolkowski

CEO and Director of Public Affairs

Jadwiga Ziolkowski

Jadwiga currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Crazy Horse Memorial® providing guidance to the overall leadership and management of ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and specific oversight of Marketing and Media.  Jadwiga is the fourth child of Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and his wife Ruth. She possesses a business degree from the University of Wyoming and she has held just about every position at Crazy Horse Memorial®, including accounting executive, visitor services manager, and personnel director.   She has a wealth of experience in administration, business, tourism, and hospitality.

Viga has previously served on the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and she is currently among the Board of Directors of First Interstate Bank Systems and the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce.


Ms. Monique Ziolkowski

CEO and Director of Mountain Carving, Construction and Maintenance, and Museum Liaison

Monique Ziolkowski

Monique is the ninth child of Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski.  She worked closely with both of her parents throughout her years at Crazy Horse, learning about what they envisioned for the future of the Memorial and the progressing Mountain Carving.   Monique is continually gaining knowledge and enjoys art in many forms. She has studied art in Boston, Italy, and New York and she has created many works of her own.  Her willingness to learn and her deep appreciation for art, combined with her father’s teachings, contribute daily to overseeing the carving of the Mountain and ensuring that the shapes sculpted by Korczak are accurately represented.   An important part of her role, as her father predicted, is staying educated on the geology of the rock and studying the working models, making revisions dictated by the Mountain, where absolutely needed. Along with the responsibility of overall leadership and management of ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, artistic updates on the working models, directing the Mountain Crew, and carving the Mountain, Monique serves as the CEO, provides direct oversight of the Construction and Maintenance Crews, Security, and she serves as the Liaison for management of THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®.


Dr. Laurie Becvar

President and Chief Operating Officer

Laurie Becvar

Laurie serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer for Crazy Horse Memorial® directly overseeing the areas of finance, central office operations, legal affairs, human resources, risk management, information technology, THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®, visitor services, and development. She possesses a doctorate and master’s degrees in higher education administration from the University of South Dakota and a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University. Prior to her leadership role at the Memorial, Laurie was a teacher, a director of a business and industry institute at a community college, an academic dean and  chief academic officer for two non-profit, private colleges, and the dean of the graduate school and continuing and distance education and senior associate provost at the University of South Dakota.  Laurie has nearly thirty years of administration experience in the education and nonprofit worlds and she has owned and operated small businesses.   

Her contributions to her profession and community include service on numerous boards and committees.

THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® began with the Summer Program, which is one piece of the greater vision.

The Summer Program is a partnership between Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and the University of South Dakota. Applicants that are accepted into the program receive a full tuition scholarship. This summer program offers students the ability to earn transferrable college credits, paid internships and scholarship opportunities.

Summer Program participants have the opportunity to earn:

  • Complete first full semester of college over the summer.
  • College credits earned can be transferred to a college or university of choice for continued study in the fall semester and beyond.
  • Study, live and work at the beautiful Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
  • Participate in numerous educational and cultural activities.
  • Receive a scholarship for summer tuition, books, instructional supplies and a portion of food and lodging.
  • Compete for additional scholarships.
  • Learn habits of success needed for college and for life.
  • Participate in a paid, credit-bearing internship (students also have opportunity to continue working after completion of the program in order to earn extra for the fall semester.)
  • Study with fellow students from across the United States.
  • Be a part of a global and engaging college experience, meet people from around the world.
  • Opportunity to earn back 50 percent of food and lodging costs at the end of the summer through a special incentive program.

In the last nine years, over 250 students from over 40 native Nations and 20 states have successfully completed the program and continued their college studies at universities and colleges throughout the United States. Native students who start college at THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® are provided an unconventional level of student support from Indian University retention coaches, regardless of where students pursue their degrees. Each year University administrators complete a college persistence/college graduation research report on summer program participants. The last survey attained a 91% response rate and confirmed that 78% of the respondents remained in college or had graduated. College graduates currently work as teachers, counselors, nurses, an assistant museum curator, business professionals, and a dental hygienist. Over 50% of the college graduates have returned to the reservation to share their talents or they are employed with a Native-led organization.

Students who begin their college careers in the summer program of THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® at Crazy Horse Memorial® learn how to dream big and set goals worthy of their highest potential. Students learn how to navigate college while completing their first semester of college in a worldly setting unlike any other.

Click here for information on how you can apply to THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®

Scholarship Assistance for Higher Education

The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Scholarship Fund began in 1978 with a single $250 award. Memorial founder Korczak Ziolkowski called it a “modest effort now toward the future, long-range educational goals of Crazy Horse.”

Since that first scholarship was awarded, The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, has been making a difference in the lives of American Indian students striving to meet their education goals. Through revenue generated by visitors’ admissions to Crazy Horse Memorial® and through the generous donations from thousands of friends and supporters, American Indian and non-Indian alike, the scholarship program has experienced tremendous growth since its inception. To date, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has awarded over $2 million dollars in scholarships.

Scholarship applicants must be American Indian students who plan to attend, or are attending, tribal or state colleges, universities, nursing schools or vocational-technical schools in South Dakota.

Crazy Horse Memorial® does not process applications and is not involved with the selection of scholarship recipients. Money is distributed to qualifying schools and recipients are selected by the institutions. Interested students should contact the financial aid office at their school for more information and scholarship application forms.

Ask about becoming a Storyteller and our "Trip of a Lifetime" tour to the outstretched Arm of the Sculpture in progress where you can meet Crazy Horse Face-to-Face.

Individuals and families call the Development Office at (605) 673-4681.
Tour group rates available - Call group sales (605) 673-4681.

Rustic Bus Rides

Rustic bus rides to the bottom of the Mountain, for a close-up view (weather permitting).

  • 25 minute round-trip
  • $4.00 per person
  • Age 6 and under are free

Face-to-Face

Meet Crazy Horse Face-to-Face through a memorable trip to the top of the Crazy Horse Carving, available with select Charitable Gifts to Crazy Horse Memorial®.

We are pleased that significant progress is being made on the Mountain Carving, the Mountain Crew is actively working on the intricate details of carving Crazy Horse’s Left Hand and the Horse’s Mane.

To accommodate Mountain Crew work and to adequately prepare for your safe trip to the top of the Mountain, please note that Van Rides during the 2019 travel season (May 15, 2019-October 14, 2019) are available Monday through Friday in the late afternoon and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. Please call the Memorial at 605-673-4681 to schedule your Van Rides in advance (conditions permitting).

For specific times for trips to up the Mountain, click here.

Native American artists, performers, and cultural bearers looking for opportunities to exhibit, enhance, or share their artistic talents and cultural knowledge are invited to apply to our six exciting Cultural Programs offered through THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®.

The six programs created to help Native artists achieve prominence and support in the arts include:

Artist in Residence Fellowship (AIR) - developing, demonstrating, and promoting art in a funded studio space.
Form

Gift from Mother Earth Art Show & Sale - exhibiting works in a juried competition and art sale.
Form

Talking Circle Speakers Series - discussing cultural knowledge in an evening presentation.
Form

Living Treasures-Indian Arts Cultural Exchange - celebrate talents, diversity, cultures of Native artists, and art sale.
Form

Performers – daily or special event performances by musicians, dancers, singers, or comedians.
Form

Mentor/Mentee - transferring intergenerational knowledge from established to emerging artists.
Form

Applicants interested in participating in more than one Cultural Program may do so. Please only submit one general "2019 Cultural Programs Application" form, one "Agreement and Understanding" form, and a Program Specific Page for each desired program from the links above.

For more information about the Cultural Programs, call the Cultural Programs Manager at (605) 673-4681, ext. 286.

Crazy Horse Memorial® accepts employment applications year-round.

Currently Available Positions

Vice President Philanthropy

Collections Manager

Seasonal Positions

Mountain Crew

Mountain Crew - Seasonal
Requires hand drilling with jack hammers and removing rock blocks using shims and wedges.

Click Here to Apply

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

Van Driver

Van Driver
Manage guided tours to the top of Crazy Horse Mountain.

Click Here to Apply

Cultural Center Attendant

Cultural Center Attendant
Staffing Cultural Center, answering questions and assisting guests with hands on displays.

Click Here to Apply

Information Booth Attendant

Information Booth Attendant
Answering guests questions and sharing information.

Click Here to Apply

Maintenance

Maintenance
Maintaining grounds and facilities.

Click Here to Apply

Visitor Host

Visitor Host
Greeting guests, answering questions and directing them to areas of the facility.

Click Here to Apply

Admission Staff

Admission Staff
Staffing our ticket office, greeting visitors as they enter the Memorial.

Click Here to Apply

Camping Attendant

Camping Attendant
Assisting campers at Heritage Village Campground.

Click Here to Apply

Laser Light Show Technician

Laser Light Show Technician
Assists with the nightly laser light show.

Click Here to Apply

Korczak's Heritage

Host

Host/Cashier
Seating and preparing dining area for guests and large groups and running cash register.

Click Here to Apply

Cook

Cook
Preparing meals for restaurant visitors.

Click Here to Apply

Cooks Attendant

Cook's Attendant
Prepping food for cooks and maintaining food safety regulations.

Click Here to Apply

Wait Staff

Wait Staff
Serving guests meals and drinks in the restaurant.

Click Here to Apply

Gift Shop

Gift Shop Sales
Assisting visitors with purchasing decisions and transactions.

Click Here to Apply

Dishwasher

Dishwasher
Washing dishes in the restaurant kitchen and maintaining cleaning and safety guidelines.

Click Here to Apply

Line Cook

Line Cook
Preparing meals for restaurant visitors.

Click Here to Apply

Bus Driver
Manage guided tours to the base of Crazy Horse Mountain.

Click Here to Apply

Commercial Photography and Filming Policy

Click Here

National news coverage of Crazy Horse Memorial

Click Here

Galleries of Crazy Horse Memorial over the years

Click Here

Among so many things, Crazy Horse Memorial® is a Monument honoring North American Indians.  Chief Henry Standing Bear envisioned a Memorial to pay tribute to our indigenous people.  Standing Bear and Native elders chose and invited our father, Korczak Ziolkowski, to carve a Monument in South Dakota’s sacred Black Hills. With a handshake, a promise was made and a dream was born.

Although the sculpture will be the largest in the world, Dad always said it was the smallest part of the mission. With a strong belief in the importance of education, our parents ensured the project’s humanitarian goals included a Museum that would educate visitors about Native Nations and a University where Native students acquired knowledge and skill to make a difference for future generations. 

We continue to look to the future of the Mountain Carving, THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®, and THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® to continue to build the dream intended by its founders.

Monique Ziolkowski, CEO and Jadwiga Ziolkowski, CEO
©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

Our Future Shared Vision

The shared vision of Chief Henry Standing Bear and Korczak Ziolkowski continues to gather strength into the first quarter of the 21st century.  Much has been achieved in the seven decades since the project began.  Currently, more than one million visitors come to the Memorial each year to see the progress, and the momentum continues in all aspects of the project.  The Memorial has three future objectives for its next chapter and charitable giving, at all levels, is needed to realize this next chapter:

  • To make dramatic progress carving the Memorial, the next phases include completing Crazy Horse’s left Hand, left Forearm, right Shoulder, Hairline, and part of the Horse’s Mane and Head.
  • To expand and enhance THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and further develop the Ziolkowski Family Life Collection and the Mountain Carving Gallery.
  • To develop and deliver year-round academic programming of THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® in partnership with institutions of higher learning; growing student enrollment from 38 students, currently, to over 100 per year.
Chief Henry Standing Bear

Left. Korczak and Chief Henry Standing Bear in Connecticuit.

Right. Chief Henry Standing Bear as a student at Carlisle.

Chief Henry Standing Bear

Standing up for his people and alongside his new friend, Korczak Ziolkowski, the man whom he and his fellow Lakota leaders had chosen to carry out the monumental undertaking, Chief Henry Standing Bear shared a message of hope and reconciliation. On June 3rd, 1948, motioning toward Thunderhead Mountain, he conveyed to those in attendance that the newly...

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Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski

Without Korczak there would be no Crazy Horse Memorial®. Its history revolves around his own extraordinary story, which is reflected in his log studio-home, workshop and sculptural galleries at Crazy Horse. His life and work are an inspiration to many.

Learn More

Korczak Closeup

Ruth Ziolkowski

Ruth Ziolkowski was born Ruth Carolyn Ross to Frank and Lydia Ross on June 26, 1926, in West Hartford, Connecticut. She first met Korczak Ziolkowski at age 13 when she and a girlfriend mustered the courage to call the sculptor’s home in West Hartford seeking the...

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Ruth in front of Crazy Horse Memorial Face

In order to film or take photos at Crazy Horse Memorial®, both interior and exterior locations, for any commercial purposes, companies/individuals must first obtain written approval from ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. As the Mountain, statues, museum items and other exterior andinterior items are copyrighted. Due to the high volume of requests for filming and photography at the Memorial, all requests must be submitted in writing at least 10 days prior to the shoot.

  • Written permission must be obtained in advance for taking photographs/filming in or around the Mountain, buildings, complex, and grounds. To allow time for questions and any necessary further clarification, please apply for permission in writing at least ten working days before the scheduled date of photography. Photos for news reports and purely documentary purposes can usually be approved more quickly.
  • Where permission is granted, the applicant will receive written confirmation.
  • Use of drones /mini-copters is strictly prohibited.
  • Photos and filming for private use does not require written permissions and is allowed unless this conflicts with ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation policies or copyright uses.
  • Use of any private photo/filming material for further purposes is expressly prohibited.
  • Photography and filming may only be done in approved areas and locations.
  • If permission is granted, it is on condition that the all items photographed or filmed are treated with care and respect.

Permission will not be granted in the following cases:

  • If the photography/filming entails any risk to any persons or property.
  • If the photography/filming would hinder the work or maintenance of the property or unjustifiably prevent access for visitors.
  • If the photos/film and their use are not within the polices of ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

To submit your request, e-mail our Public Relations Department attention jadwiga.ziolkowski@crazyhorse.org . Your request should detail date and time of shoot, crew size, number of vehicles entering the complex, desired location(s) for filming/photography,start/end times and list of equipment to be used during shoot. Also, include how the photos/film will be used.

Articles

Videos in the News


Crazy Horse Memorial Bigger Than Mount Rushmore

Work began on the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota in 1948. Those working on it now say they'll be gone before it's finished. Source: CNN Added on 2:59 PM ET, Thu January 8, 2015

Watch Video

CNN Bigger Than Mount Rushmore Video

Crazy Horse Memorial-STILL not done?

September 3, 2011, 2:39 PM|The recent completion of the MLK memorial reminded us of this 1977 profile of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and his life's work, carving a mountain into a sculpture to honor Native American CBS NEWS

Watch Video

Crazy Horse Memorial Video

Five Against the Mountain

“Crazy Horse” documents the devotion they give each day in pursuit of perfection. It’s the story of five men against the mountain.The Crazy Horse monument is a task which will surpass the team’s lifetime. Like all well-crafted achievements, it will not only live on as a tribute to those it represents, but as a tribute to the perseverance of those who built it.

Watch Video

Red Wings Five Against the Mountain Video

Crazy Horse Memorial Carved into Mountain

In South Dakota's Black Hills, a mountain foreman named Cas Ziolkowski can finally see his family's dream taking shape. It's the most mammoth mountain sculpture in the world in both size and scale, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann . An outsized replica of a statue of Crazy Horse, the Lakota Indian chief who wiped out Custer's men at Little Big Horn. CBS News

Watch Video

CBS Carved Into Mountain Video

Ancient Impossible: Monster Monuments

We look at a monster monument being built right now crazy horse monument, South Dakota. This sculpture is just mind blowingly big. It is the whole mountain. The statue of this great Native American hero on horseback will be 563 feet high when completed. Just the horse's nostril alone will be big enough to hold ten full size cars

Watch Video

Ancient Impossible Monster Monuments Video

Korczak's Heritage

Official Gift Shop of ©Crazy Horse Memorial

Shop Now

Korcak's Heritage is a Ziolkowski-family business licensed to operate at the Memorial with royalties paid to Crazy Horse Memorial.

Our mission is simple: to provide the best products and service to our customers at the lowest prices possible. We take great pride in our company, our commitment to customer service and in the products we sell. Our online store is designed to provide you with a safe and secure environment to browse our product catalog.

Shop Now

Admission

$30.00 Per car - more than 2 people

$24.00 2 people in car

$12.00 Per person

$7.00   Per person on motorcycle

$7.00   Per person on bicycle

$7.00   Per person walking

Group rates available - Call group sales (605) 673-4681.

Guests with Pets

We welcome pets and service animals, however, make sure you know the rules first. Service animals are permitted in all areas. Leashed pets are welcome at the common areas outside the Crazy Horse Memorial® visitor complex. Pets must be carried or otherwise contained while inside the Welcome Center, museums, gift shop, sculptor's home-studio and cultural center. No pets are allowed in the food service areas or on the bus rides to the bottom of the mountain. Leashed pets are allowed on the mountain carving viewing deck and the roofed, concrete floor entry leading to the deck. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Guests with Disabilities

Our facility is handicap accessible, we strive to ensure all guests are accommodated at all times. Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may call 605-673-4681 for more information.

Welcome Center

Welcome Center

Dedicated in 2000, the 40,000 square foot Welcome Center at Crazy Horse Memorial® is the main entrance to the Visitor Complex. From the Welcome Center you can take a bus ride to the base of the mountain, watch the historic video in one of our two theaters, and enter the museums.

The Nature Gates

The Nature Gates are iron gates Korczak and Ziolkowski children decorated with the silhouettes of 219 animals (past and present) indigenous to South Dakota.

Nature Gates

The Promise Painting

"The Promise” painting above the information desk, by the late Steve Fountain (1921-2007), shows Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear with the scale model & Thunderhead Mountain in the background.

Promise Painting

Korczak's Home and Studio

Korczak lived in a tent the first year while he cut, peeled and notched the trees to build the log home. The furnishings and antiques came from his home in West Hartford. Korczak’s Studio and Home has many of Korczak’s works of art on display. Among these are the Horse’s Head that he carved in nine days, Old Pagen, and the Polish Eagle.

The “Big Room” as the Ziolkowski children call it, is still home for the family. Some holidays are celebrated in this room and the furniture does get used. You should see this room on Christmas Day!!

Learn More

Korczaks studio art

The Original Lobby

During the winter of 2002-2003, workers rebuilt the oldest part of the Crazy Horse Memorial® visitor complex, known affectionately by the Ziolkowski family as the “Back Porch.” Finishing work continued on the lobby interior during most of 2003.

Many of the popular features of the lobby remain, including the rock box (right) allowing visitors to take home a rock from the mountain. Another popular area is the lighted exhibit showing the carving of the Mountain and progression on the face of Crazy Horse in the 1990s.

Visitors also see large models of the head of Crazy Horse and the horse’s head. New exhibits are also planned for the Original Lobby.

The Original Lobby
Korczaks Heritage Gift Shop

The Gift Shop

Korczak’s Heritage, Inc. is a privately-owned business operating the gift shop at Crazy Horse with royalties to the Crazy Horse Memorial®. The beautiful gift shop includes exclusive Crazy Horse Gifts and a huge selection of Native American crafted items such as beadwork, jewelry, paintings, and much more.

Shop Online

Conference Facilities

Crazy Horse Memorial®, in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, is a one-of-a-kind setting for your conference, seminar, class, board meeting, retreat, family reunion, or other special event.

Crazy Horse Memorial’s Welcome Center houses conference facilities offering theater style seating for up to 300 people, break-out and small group rooms, restaurant and food service on premises, reception, and banquet and buffet capabilities. We look forward to working with you to meet your event needs.

Conference Facilities

The Wall of Windows

The Wall of Windows is at the end of the Welcome Center nearest The Mountain. Much of the wall facing the sculpture is windows resulting in an amazing view of the Carving in Progress.

Wall of Windows

Below is a series of images taken with our StarDot NetCam XL camera which is located about 1500′ feet south of the Mountain.   The camera is set to start taking pictures at 6am and conclude at 9pm. The pictures are captured on a 90-minute interval (15hrsx60min/10 images= 90 minutes).  The most recent picture will always be at the top of this page with the older ones progressing down from left to right.

For the most current set of images hit F5

Tell Us About Your Visit

Please take a moment to fill out this quick visitor survey about your experience at Crazy Horse Memorial.

Laughing Water Restaurant® is owned by Korczak’s Heritage, Inc., a privately-owned business with royalties to Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation®.

It all started with Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski who often had guests over for dinner here at Crazy Horse Memorial®. Today you can dine in casual elegance at the Laughing Water Restaurant® where you will be treated to a spectacular view of the Mountain Carving while enjoying some of the area's best cuisine. Our team is dedicated and passionate, taking pride in everything that we do.

This passion ensures that you receive the best dining experience possible. Laughing Water Restaurant® has something for everyone with a variety of comfort foods. Seating is available for individual travelers, large groups, and every size party between. Our portions are generous, and coffee is always on us, a tradition at Crazy Horse Memorial® from the beginning.

View Hours

Laughing Water Restaurant takes its name from an area creek with headwaters at the bottom of Crazy Horse Mountain. It runs south to the town of Custer where it joins French Creek. During the drought of the 1930s, Laughing Water Creek was one of the few in the area that did not dry up. People from miles around would bring their wagons and barrels to fill them with water.

Native American Taco

Home-made Indian fry bread topped with taco meat, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, salsa, and sour cream. Or, try our fry bread with wojapi (warm berry sauce), cinnamon, or honey as a dessert!

Native American Taco Dish

Tatanka Stew

Made from prime cuts of tender Black Hills buffalo, slow cooked with carrots, sweet peas, green onions, pearl onions, and potatoes. Simmered in our own blend of tasty seasonings and served with Indian fry bread.

Tatanka Stew Dish
Laughing Water Restaurant

"The food was great nice large portions. Our waitress was very friendly and waited on us as if we were the only ones in the restaurant, which we were not! Would recommend if going to Crazy Horse." – Debbie

Dates Time
Tue, Oct 9th - Tue, Oct 30th

11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Open at 9:00 am on Saturday & Sunday 10/13/18 - 4/28/19

Wed, Oct 31st - Tue, Nov 13th

11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Open at 9:00 am on Saturday & Sunday 10/13/18 - 4/28/19

Snack Shop Hours of Operation

Dates Time
Tue, Oct 9th - Tue, Oct 30th

9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Wed, Oct 31st - Tue, Nov 13th

​9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Crazy Horse Memorial® is in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota in the United States. The entrance along US Highway 16/385 (the Crazy Horse Memorial Highway) is 9 miles south of Hill City, SD and 4 miles north of Custer, SD. Crazy Horse Memorial® is 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Bus Tour Information

Driving Directions

12151 Avenue of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse, SD 57730

Click for directions from your location (make sure the location services on your device is set to on).

Set Your GPS coordinates to our gates (+43.820279, -103.640092).

Maps to Crazy Horse Memorial®

Parking

There is plenty of parking available with special parking for larger vehicles (i.e., busses, vans and motorhomes). We even have special parking during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for our friends on two wheels.

Fullscreen Map

Crazy Horse Memorial Parking Area Map

Memorial Map

Explore a map of the facility before your visit.

High Resolution Map

Crazy Horse Memorial Facilities Map

Among the most popular events at Crazy Horse Memorial® are the two night blasts traditionally held each year. The spectacular ceremonial blasts light up the mountain with incredible fireballs and specially designed pyrotechnical features.

Night Blast

The Mountain lit up from a night blast

Important note: Night blasts are conducted on a “weather permitting” basis.

June 26th - Ruth's Night Blast

The first night blast of the year is June 26th. It celebrates the birthday of the late Mrs. Korczak (Ruth) Ziolkowski (1926 - 2014), wife of the late Crazy Horse sculptor.

The June 26th blast also commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. The battle was June 25, 1876. Crazy Horse was a main strategist in the defeat of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his troops.

The public is welcome at the night blasts. After 7:00 p.m. on June 26th the Memorial gratefully accepts three cans of food per person in lieu of the regular admission fee. Because the night blasts are among the Memorial’s most popular events, the public is advised to arrive early. The restaurant at Crazy Horse closes at 4pm on the evenings of the night blasts but the Snack Shop remains open.

September 6th - Crazy Horse & Korczak Night Blast

The second traditional night blast of the year is on September 6th. The blast honors the dual anniversaries of the 1877 death of Crazy Horse and of the 1908 birth of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

The public is welcome at the night blasts. After 5:00 p.m. on September 6th the Memorial gratefully accepts three cans of food per person in lieu of the regular admission fee. Because the night blasts are among the Memorial’s most popular events, the public is advised to arrive early. The restaurant at Crazy Horse closes at 4pm on the evenings of the night blasts but the Snack Shop remains open.

June 15th - June 17th

Every year in mid-June, Crazy Horse Memorial® celebrates the arts and crafts that are melding Native American cultures and the New West.

During the three-day “Gift from Mother Earth Art Show.” Exhibitors, the makers of custom-made clothing, jewelry and other items for sale, fill much of the visitor complex. The booths open at 8 a.m. all three days.

Awards are given in several art categories. Visitors also enjoy American Indian performers.

Download Your Application

Gift from Mother Earth booths

The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the most popular organized hike in the United States (15,000 walkers in a record year). This family event is sponsored by the Black Hills Chapter of the American Volksmarch Association (AVA) and hosted by Crazy Horse Memorial®.

Volksmarch

A group of visitors for the Annual Spring Volksmarch

Hikers follow dirt trails and gravel work roads up to the Crazy Horse mountain carving. The turn-around point is on the arm of Crazy Horse directly in front of the nine-story-high face, which was completed June 3, 1998. Hikers get an up-close view of the mountain. Work continues on the rest of what will be the largest sculpture in the world.

The Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. during the Volksmarch, and serves lunch and dinner. The snack shop also is open. Coffee is always free at Crazy Horse Memorial®.

34th Annual Spring Volksmarch - June 1st & June 2nd, 2019

The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch (an organized hike) is a 10K or 6.2-mile woodlands ramble to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota.

7th Annual Fall Volksmarch - September 29th, 2019

This autumn hike on Sunday, September 29th is held the same weekend as the Custer State Park Buffalo Round-Up. It is the public’s second chance of the year to walk up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress.

Crazy Horse Memorial Orientation

Before or after your hike, don’t miss the short introductory movie “Dynamite & Dreams” playing in the twin theaters in the Welcome Center. Also be sure to see THE INDIAN MUSEM OF NORTH AMERICA®, Sculptor’s Studio / Home Workshop and THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER®. Meet and visit with Native American artists creating arts and crafts in the museum and cultural center.

Cost

Admission is waived to volksmarchers. A donation of three cans of food per person is appreciated. The AVA’s hike fee is $3 for each participant regardless of age.

Parking

FREE. Due to the popularity of the event, parking can be some distance from the starting point and not on paved or gravel surfaces. Shuttle buses operate between these outlying parking lots and the start-finish area.

Registration

No advance registration. Hikers must check in at starting point, which is at the Memorial’s upper parking area. Hikers must register before 1 p.m. and be off the trail by 4 p.m.

Starting times

Anytime between 8 am and 1 pm.

Volksmarch Walking Trail
Volksmarch close up group

Frequently Asked Questions

The hike averages two to four hours to complete. Hikers should pace themselves due to the terrain and peak elevation (nearly 6,500 feet above sea level).

The route is 10K (6.2 miles round trip) on hilly, rough terrain with some steep inclines. The rugged woodlands path is not suitable for infant strollers. From the valley at the Memorial’s visitor center, the trail rises about 500 feet up to the mountain. You will see views of Crazy Horse Memorial® and its 1,000-acre campus not otherwise available to the public.

Travel light! Water stations and port-a-potties are available along the trail. Roving trail monitors and medical professionals will be available for those needing assistance. Watch the weather, dress appropriately and anticipate taking layers of clothes. Sturdy footwear is recommended.

Pets of all kinds are prohibited on the trail.

There is no camping at Crazy Horse Memorial®. However, camping is available at Heritage Village, 1 mile south of the Memorial’s entrance. The campground overlooks the mountain carving.

South Dakota was the first state to officially celebrate Native Americans' Day on the second Monday in October annually. Elsewhere, the day is observed as Columbus Day.

The South Dakota Legislature established the Native Americans' Day holiday at the urging of Gov. George S. Mickelson. He declared 1990 as a "Year of Reconciliation" and called for the first Native Americans' Day observance to be held at Crazy Horse Memorial®, where the likeness of the Lakota leader is being carved to honor the Native Americans. (Click here to see the 1990 state statute)

Native American Day Group
Native American Performer

At the first holiday gathering, held at Crazy Horse Memorial®, Gov. Mickelson told more than 1,200 people, "We can’t turn back the clock. We can only turn to the future together. What we can do as leaders, both Native American and white, is teach others that we can change attitudes."

The Native Americans' Day celebration at Crazy Horse includes naming the Crazy Horse Memorial Educator of the Year, which honors an individual who has made significant contributions to Native American education. The award includes a $1,000 grant to the recipient’s school library or to programs of his or her choice that help students. The holiday's program also includes a free public program featuring Native American singers and dancers. Programs and displays featuring artists, storytellers and hands-on activities for children are offered in the visitor complex. A free buffalo stew lunch is available to all visitors courtesy of Korczak’s Heritage, Inc., Laughing Water Restaurant®, and Custer State Park.

Crazy Horse Memorial laser overlay

Nightly May 24th - September 29th

“Legends in Light” the Crazy Horse Memorial® multimedia laser-light show is presented nightly, at dark, from Memorial Day weekend through September 29th. The laser-light show effectively turns the mountainside into a giant 500-foot “screen” for the spectacular display.

“This is laser-light storytelling to illuminate our cultural diversity, celebrate our similarities and encourage better understanding and harmony among races and nations,” said Ruth Ziolkowski,(1926-2014) wife of late sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-1982).

The Memorial honors Native Americans, and “Legends in Light” dramatizes the story of the rich heritage, living cultures and contributions by Native Americans to our society. The show features colorful animations, sound effects and laser beams choreographed to music.

2019 Laser Light Show Public Schedule

Dates Time
Fri, May 24th - Thu, Jun 13th

9:30 p.m.

Fri, Jun 14th - Thu, Jun 27th

10:00 p.m.

Fri, Jun 28th - Thu, Jul 25th

9:30 p.m.

Fri, Jul 26th - Thu, Aug 15th

9:00 p.m.

Fri, Aug 16th - Thu, Aug 29th

8:30 p.m.

Fri, Aug 30th - Thu, Sep 12th

8:00 p.m.

Fri, Sep 13th - Sun, Sep 29th

7:30 p.m.

The Laser Light Show is produced with:

  • 15-watt lasers that are the biggest used in the laser-show industry
  • 8,800 watts of stereo sound that is heard in the parking lots and throughout the visitor complex
  • 25 2,000 watt fixtures lighting up the mountain
  • Three of the world's largest slide projectors

The three PANI slide projectors create panoramic images as wide as the mountain carving. A closed-loop ice-making system cools the lasers, without drawing on water resources.

This dynamic method of storytelling provides a unique experience for our guests to enjoy.

Talking Circle Speaker Series

Thursday evenings at 6:30 from June 6, 2019 through August 15, 2019

Native artists, performers, and culture bearers share their knowledge and skill with visitors to the Memorial by offering a presentation about current cultural issues, traditions, and living heritage of North American Indians.

Talking Circle Speaker Series

Living Treasures Indian Arts Cultural Exchange

May 4th - May 10th; June 1st - June 7th; July 6th - July 12th; August 3rd - August 9th; and September 7th - September 13th

Native artists showcase their artwork for sale to visitors of the Memorial. Artists will share their culture through daily one-hour workshops during each week-long event. The medium of artwork may include basket weaving, fiber weaving, ethnobotany, quill and beadwork, jewelry and silversmithing, ledger art, hide painting, leatherwork, pottery, carving, and sculpture.

Living Treasures Indian Arts Cultural Exchange

Artist in Residency Fellowship

May 2019 through September 2019

Artists, musicians, writers, or culture bearers will work on their projects and goals for their art during a one-month Artist in Residency Fellowship. The Artist in Residency Fellows will share their experience with the public by demonstration, discussion, workshops, lecture, or other means on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm in THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER® (NAECC) from May through October. Artists will also market and sell their art.

Artist in Residency Fellowship

Legends in Light® Laser Show

Nightly Memorial Day Weekend through the end of September

Legends in Light® the Crazy Horse Memorial® multimedia laser-light show is presented nightly, at dark, in season (weather permitting). The laser-light show effectively uses the Mountainside as a giant 500-foot “screen” for the spectacular display.

Learn More

Legends in Light

Night Blasts

June 26th and September 6th

Among the most popular events at Crazy Horse Memorial® are the two annual night. The spectacular ceremonial blasts light up the Mountain with incredible fireballs and specially designed pyrotechnical features.

Learn More

Night Blast

Gift from Mother Earth Art Show

Mid-June

Every year in mid-June, Crazy Horse Memorial® celebrates the arts and crafts that are melding Native American cultures and the New West. The Show features many various artists displaying and selling their work throughout THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®.

Learn More

Gift from Mother Earth Booth

Volksmarch

Spring Volksmarch-First Full Weekend in June

The Crazy Horse Spring Volksmarch (an organized hike) is a 10K (6.2-mile) woodlands ramble to the world’s largest Mountain Carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota.

Autumn Volksmarch-same weekend as Custer State Park’s Buffalo Round-Up

This autumn hike is on the Sunday of the Custer State Park’s Buffalo Round-Up. It is the public’s second chance of the year to walk up the world’s largest Mountain Carving in progress.

Learn More

Volksmarch Group

Native Americans' Day

October 14th

South Dakota was the first state to officially celebrate Native Americans’ Day each year on the second Monday in October. Elsewhere, the day is observed as Columbus Day.

Learn More

Native American Day Celebration

2018-19 Schedule

The Day After Native Americans’ Day 2018 through Native Americans’ Day 2019.

Native Performers and Storytellers in Season May 25, 2019 through September 30, 2019 at 11:30 am - 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm (last performance at 5:30 pm beginning September 19, 2019).
See Special Events for other exciting experiences.

October 9 - October 30

Welcome Center and The Museums of the Memorial
7 am - 6 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
8 am - 5 pm

Bus to Base - A closer look of the Mountain from the base
Privately-owned Ziolkowski-family business licensed to operate at the Memorial with royalties paid to Crazy Horse Memorial®.
8:15 am - last boarding at 5 pm

Gift Shop
Privately-owned Ziolkowski-family business licensed to operate at the Memorial with royalties paid to Crazy Horse Memorial®.
7 am - 6 pm
 

Other Hours and Schedules

Legends in Lights Laser Show TimesSpecial EventsSpecial Tours

Van Rides - A trip to the top of the Mountain

Van rides are available through charitable giving to Crazy Horse Memorial®. Click the dates below to expand the schedules.

Monday - Friday
Beginning at 4:30 pm - last boarding at 5 pm*

Saturday and Sunday
Van rides available during operating hours*

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Laughing Water Restuarant

Laughing Water Restuarant

Privately-owned Ziolkowski-family business licensed to operate at the Memorial with royalties paid to Crazy Horse Memorial®.

It all started with Korczak & Ruth Ziolkowski who often had guests over for dinner here at Crazy Horse Memorial®. Today you can dine in casual elegance, at the Laughing Water Restaurant. You will be treated to a spectacular view of the mountain carving, while enjoying some of the area's best cuisine.

Learn More

Future Hours and Schedules

Bus to Base and Gift Shop are privately-owned Ziolkowski-family businesses licensed to operate at the Memorial with royalties paid to Crazy Horse Memorial®.

Welcome Center
8 am - 5 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
9 am - 4 pm

Bus to Base
9 am - 4 pm*

Gift Shop
8 am - 5 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
8 am - 4 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
9 am - 3 pm

Bus to Base
9 am - 3 pm*

Gift Shop
8 am - 4 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
8 am - 7 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
9 am - 6 pm

Bus to Base
10 am - 3:30 pm*

Gift Shop
8 am - 7 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
8 am - 5 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
9 am - 4 pm

Bus to Base
9 am - 4 pm*

Gift Shop
8 am - 5 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
8 am - 7 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
9 am - 6 pm

Bus to Base
9 am - 6 pm*

Gift Shop
8 am - 7 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
7 am - 8 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
8 am - 7 pm

Bus to Base
9 am - 7 pm*

Gift Shop
7 am - 8 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
7 am - 1/2 hour after the Laser Light Show

Educational and Cultural Center
8 am - 8 pm

Bus to Base
8:30 am - 1 and 1/2 hour before the Laser Light Show Begins*

Gift Shop
7 am - 1/2 hour after the Laser Light Show Begins

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Welcome Center
7 am - 6 pm

Educational and Cultural Center
8 am - 5 pm

Bus to Base
8:30 am - 5 pm*

Gift Shop
7 am - 6 pm

*Weather and road conditions permitting.

Employment Information

©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is a non-profit cultural and educational humanitarian project with three major goals: the Mountain Carving, THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, and, when feasible, a Medical Training Center for North American Indians.  The main visitor complex consists of several buildings where ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation operates a welcome center, theaters, galleries, museums, and Van Rides to the top of Crazy Horse Mountain.  At this main complex, Korczak's Heritage, Inc. operates a gift shop, Laughing Water Restaurant and Snack Shop, and bus rides to the bottom of the Mountain Carving.  A short distance South of this location, ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Operates Heritage Village Campground. 

Open Positions

What we Expect of You

If you are a team player who wants to work and share our dedication to exceed our guests' expectations, we encourage you to consider a seasonal or year-round position at ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation or Korczak's Heritage, Inc.  We hope you will enjoy the Black Hills of South Dakota on your days off, but we expect you to be committed to your job responsibilities while at work.  We are committed to providing great service in all areas of our facilities. In order to achieve this, you as an employee, are expected to make a similar commitment to excellence and achievement in your own personal standards and work habits.  We are looking for employees with previous experience in restaurant, retail sales and other guest services, and employees who may have little job related experience, but are willing to work hard, enjoy working with and for people, and take pride in a job well done. 

Basic Employment Requirements

Ability Dates: Our season begins in early May when we begin gearing up for the summer season and extends into November.  Some positions are year round.  Your employment chances improve if you can arrive early and work lake in the season.  Be REALISTIC and SPECIFIC about the exact date you will be available to start and the last day you can work, as these dates will become part of your employment agreement. 

Age: All employees must be age 14 or over upon reporting to work. 

Application for Employment

We consider applications for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital or veteran status, the presence of a non-job related medical condition or handicap, or other legally protected status. 

Open Positions

The original log home or “Big Room” as it is lovingly referred to by the Ziolkowski children, grandchildren and great grandchildren is still used for family functions. Many Christmas dinners have been celebrated in this room for over 63 years! Korczak lived in a tent for the first seven months. He hand cut trees for a log cabin and studio home that was so well-built that it remains as part of the visitor's complex to this day. Korczak, always unique in his approach to building, used log beams 70 feet long and built a 30-foot skylight into the home, to be able to see the Mountain. He and his wife Ruth cleared timber and built the first roads to the studio home and to the mountain – no small feat. Ruth, did all of the peeling and chinking of the logs for the home.

Also, always one to think ahead, in anticipation of a time when the curious would come to visit and observe the progress at the Mountain, he filled the home with his collection of antiques from his West Hartford, Connecticut home and works of sculpture. The Ziolkowski log home is open to visitors and antiques featured in the "big room" include a Marie Antoinette mirror, Louis the 16th chairs and the glass topped table that Korczak made from a four legged piano. The sculptor's home also features a collection of original pieces created by Korczak himself; comprising of the horse's head that he carved in 9 days, Old Pagan, Polish Eagle and many people he admired.

The Sculptor's Studio

Just as the Paha Sapa has long been a place of convergence, a coming together, Crazy Horse Memorial® has, since its beginning, been a place of convergence – of people, of cultures, of stories, and of dreams. A great many facets of this convergence are still represented in the sculptor's workshop and sun room (named for the multiple windows built into the space).

Within the workshop and sun room, which Korczak and Ruth built in 1962 and which remain an integral part of the visitor's complex to this day, visitors experience an eclectic mix of work and narratives. Beyond an unassuming exterior, visitors encounter an extraordinary interior that holds displays representing a large swath of the history of Crazy Horse Memorial®. The items found within, comprised of a variety of wood, bronze, marble and casts, are projects that the sculptor continued to work on in the winter months when he could not work on the mountain. One item that is housed here is the wooden toolbox that Korczak made when he was just 18. This piece, rather simple, functional, and unadorned, represents a young artist who was readying his tools for a lifetime of creation, and, little did he know, readying himself for taking on a carving project of an unprecedented scale. Surrounding the toolbox is a large mix of his other works – some which took a handful of days to create, others that took months to create, and still others that were works in progress when the sculptor passed on in 1982.

Also, displayed in the workshop are items that consistently peak the curiosity of visitors. One such item is a full-sized, original Concord Stagecoach that Korczak acquired in a trade for some of his work. After bringing the coach back to the Memorial, Korczak and children Monique and Adam worked tirelessly to restore the coach. Likewise, this piece represents the beginning of the next generation of the Ziolkowski family who would dedicate their lives to Crazy Horse Memorial® and would step up to take on various duties related to the humanitarian project. Other items include the drums and costumes which hang in the workshop to represent the Noah Webster Fife and Drum and Corps – a group of young folks who made the journey from Connecticut to help Korczak in the beginning – among these was Ruth Ross. In addition, there are portraits of several individuals who were special to the sculptor – like Pete Lien, a close, long-time friend. Also, among these portraits is Henry Standing Bear – a bronze of the carving that the sculptor presented to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 when the President dedicated the Oahe Dam north of Pierre, SD after the Chief's passing. This piece sits near the entrance of the workshop – reminding all those who enter of the promise that the sculptor made to his Lakota friend and of the humble beginnings of the work on Crazy Horse Memorial®. Accordingly, as weather and the seasons would permit, the latter part of the 1960's would see increased progress on the mountain . . . This area of the Crazy Horse complex is home to many of Korczak’s early works and is tribute to his early life in the Black Hills.

The Mountain Carving Gallery at Crazy Horse Memorial® is a wonderful visual tribute to the story of the Mountain. The story of Crazy Horse Memorial® starts with a young man, who was determined to overcome adversity and a Lakota Chief who wanted a monument to honor his people; a vision which grew into a Memorial honoring all North American Indians.

Korczak Ziolkowski, Boston born of Polish descent, started out in life already behind. Orphaned at one, he grew up in a series of foster homes. He learned early on if he needed or wanted something he would have to work hard to earn it. He started his artistic career learning woodworking and furniture making; then moved to the art of sculpture. In 1939, Korczak worked with Gutzon Borglum on the “Shrine of Democracy” sculpture, Mount Rushmore. Later that year, Korczak's Carrara marble portrait, "Paderewski, Study of an Immortal," won first prize at the New York World's Fair. The attention and media coverage of his award prompted Chief Henry Standing Bear to write Korczak a letter appealing to the sculptor to create a memorial for the American Indians of North America.

The letter from Chief Henry Standing Bear is displayed in the Mountain Carving Room. He wrote to Korczak: "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes also." Korczak would correspond with Chief Henry Standing Bear over the next several years. At age 34, Korczak volunteered to serve in World War II. At war’s end, the invitation was accepted and Korczak dedicated the rest of his life to Crazy Horse Memorial®. The Gallery also includes pictures of the visit Chief Standing Bear made to Korczak’s home on the East Coast.

Korczak’s original plan for the Memorial was to start with the Horse’s Head. The Mountain Carving Room features the tools Korczak used in the early years of the Mountain, including a ½ size replica of “the bucket”; a wooden basket used with an aerial cable car run by an antique Chevy engine that allowed the sculptor to haul equipment and tools up the Mountain. Korczak passed away in 1982, leaving Ruth Ziolkowski and his children to continue with the Crazy Horse dream. Ruth took charge as Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation’s President and CEO, she decided to change the focus, shifting the work from the 219-foot-tall Horse's Head to the 87 ½ foot tall Face of Crazy Horse. This shift in focus is displayed in the Mountain Carving Gallery by showing the measuring models used to carve the face of Crazy Horse, plasters of Crazy Horse’s face, and the detailed pictorial progression of the Face carving. In the Mountain Carving Gallery, you will be able to learn more about the current phases of carving Crazy Horse's Left Hand, Arm, and the Horse's Mane and Head.

Crazy Horse Memorial Collections

THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® is home to a large collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of the American Indian people. The Museum collection started with a single display donated in 1965 by Charles Eder, Assiniboine-Sioux, from Montana. Mr. Eder’s impressive collection remains on display to this day.

Close to 90% of the art and artifacts have been donated by generous individuals, including many Native Americans. The Museum serves as a resource for students, educators, and visitors, allowing the opportunity to study and learn from the displays and many other cultural resources at Crazy Horse Memorial®.

THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER® provides a number of unique educational opportunities geared to enhance the visitors' experience at Crazy Horse. One-of-a-kind exhibits are displayed, Native American artisans are showcased, and special activities and games are featured. The distinctive stone building was completed in 1996 with rock blasted from the Crazy Horse Mountain Carving.

The Center hosts and encourages many hands-on activities with staff and vendors providing instruction in American Indian history and culture through storytelling, flute playing, song and dance. Native American artists throughout North America spend much of the summer in residence at Crazy Horse to create, share, and sell their work while interacting with visitors, which provides a valuable cultural exchange.

The lower level houses a display of a large collection of Edward S. Curtis photographs of the American West and the Native American peoples, taken around the end of the 19th century. This extraordinary collection of historic and culturally significant photographs was donated by Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation board member William Turner and family of Florida. As part of THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®, the Cultural Center building is also the home of many museum exhibits.

One wall of the lower level of the Cultural Center is a natural granite and quartz ridge housing the Exhibit of the American Bison. The story begins with the history of the bison in North America from its prehistoric beginnings to its near extinction, the exploits of western figures who helped save the remaining bison at the end of the 1800s, to the cultural significance of the buffalo to tribes across the country. Don't miss this beautiful exhibit when visiting THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER® at Crazy Horse Memorial®.

The Museums of Crazy Horse Memorial® feature exhibits and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages in the discovery of Native history and contemporary life, the art and science of Mountain Carving, and the lives of the Ziolkowski family.  The Museums include THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® (including THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER®), the Mountain Carving Gallery, and the Ziolkowski Family Life Collection.  The Museums and Galleries of Crazy Horse Memorial® are excellent resources for students, educators, and visitors, allowing the opportunity to study and learn from the displays and many other cultural resources at Crazy Horse Memorial®.

THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® is home to a large collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of over 300 Native Nations.  The Museum, designed to complement the story being told in stone on the Mountain, presents the lives of American Indians and preserves Native Culture for future generations. The Museum collection started with a single display donated in 1965 by Charles Eder, Assiniboine-Sioux, from Montana. Mr. Eder’s impressive collection remains on display to this day.  The Indian Museum has about the same annual visitation as the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Close to 90% of the art and artifacts have been donated by generous individuals, including many Native Americans.

The current facility housing THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® was designed and built by Korczak Ziolkowski and his family in the harsh winter of 1972-73, when no work was possible on the Mountain. The Museum incorporated Korczak’s love of wood and natural lighting, being constructed from ponderosa pine, harvested and milled at Crazy Horse Memorial®. The original wing of the museum was dedicated on May 30, 1973. In the early 1980s, Korczak planned a new wing of the Museum to accommodate the growing collection of artifacts. He did not live to see his plans realized, instead his wife Ruth Ziolkowski and 7 of their children made sure the new wing was built. The structure was built in the winter of 1983-84 and funding came in large part from a $60,000 check left in the Crazy Horse Memorial® contribution box in late August of 1983. The contributor said he was moved by the purpose of Crazy Horse, Korczak, and his family’s great progress and by the sculptor’s reliance on free enterprise and refusal to take federal funds.

The Ziolkowski Family Life Collection is shown throughout the complex and demonstrates to people of all ages the timeless values of making a promise and keeping it, setting a goal and never giving up, working hard to overcome adversity, and devoting one’s life to something much larger than oneself.

The Mountain Carving Gallery shares the amazing history of carving the Mountain. It features the tools Korczak used in the early years of carving, including a ½ size replica of “the bucket”; a wooden basket used with an aerial cable car run by an antique Chevy engine that allowed the sculptor to haul equipment and tools up the Mountain. Displayed in the Mountain Carving Room are the measuring models used to carve the Face of Crazy Horse, plasters of Crazy Horse’s Face and the detailed pictorial progression of carving the Face. You will find details on the next phase in the Memorial’s carving. Current focus is on Crazy Horse’s Left Hand and Arm, the top of Crazy Horse’s Head, his Hairline, and the Horse’s Mane.

View Collections

When Korczak accepted the invitation to carve a Mountain Memorial to Native American culture, he determined that it would be an educational and humanitarian project. He wanted Crazy Horse to be much more than “just” a colossal Mountain Carving.

The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is built on Korczak, Ruth and Chief Henry Standing Bear’s ideals of creating a memorial to honor the living heritage of the North American Indians. As a part of this foundation THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER® were created. The Museums feature American Indian art and artifacts from tribal Nations across North America and offer the opportunity for guests to be hands on with “make and take” activities. In the summer, guests can enjoy visiting with Native American Artisans, watching American Indian dancers perform, and learning more through the Talking Circle Speaker Series.

Crazy Horse Memorial® offers several museums for visitors. Be sure to visit them all!
Nearly all the artifacts displayed have been donated.

Indian Museum of North America®

THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® has about the same annual visitation as the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

Indian Museum of North America®

THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® is home to a large collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of the American Indian people. The museum, designed to complement the story being told in stone on the Mountain, speaks eloquently to present and future generations about American Indian life.

Learn More

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Educator of the Year Award

In 2003, ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation created a tribute to American Indian educators. The Crazy Horse Educator of the Year Award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to Native American education. The award includes a $1,000 grant to fund the recipient’s student projects that make an impact.  The award is announced annually at the Native Americans’ Day Celebration at Crazy Horse Memorial®.

Past recipients include

  • 2003 - Martin Red Bear Jr., Resource Specialist, Rapid City Central High School.
  • 2004 - Margery High Horse, Fourth-Grade Teacher, Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School, Porcupine, SD. Terrie Jo Gibbons received special recognition for her work as an Art Teacher for the Shannon County School District
  • 2005 - Marlyce Miner, Social Studies Instructor, Jefferson Academy, Rapid City Area Schools
  • 2006 - Robert Cook, Social Studies Instructor, Jefferson Academy, Rapid City Area Schools
  • 2007 - Earl Bullhead, Lakota Language-Cultural Arts Instructor, Lower Brule High School and Lower Brule Community College
  • 2008 - Judy Whirlwind Horse, Fifth Grade Teacher, Cheyenne Eagle Butte Upper Elementary School
  • 2009 - Marcel Bull Bear, History-Genealogy-Lakota Culture Instructor, Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, SD
  • 2010 - Harriet Brings, Lakota Language-Traditions Teacher, North Middle School, Rapid City, SD
  • 2011 - Dr. Jason Murray, Assistant Professor of English, East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. Murray served as the full-time Director of THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® from 2013-2015.
  • 2012 - Barry Mann, High School Principal, St. Francis Indian School, Rosebud Indian Reservation.
  • 2013 - Thomas "Tom" Shortbull, President of Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, SD
  • 2014 - Christopher Bordeaux, Executive Director, Oceti Sakowin Education Consortium
  • 2015 - Charlie Luecke, Professor, Postsecondary Advisor, Internship Coordinator, THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® Summer Program at Crazy Horse Memorial®
  • 2016 - Sergeant Todd Albertson, Freshman Impact Co-coordinator, South Dakota Highway Patrol - Northern Hills District
  • 2017 - Vaughn Vargas, Rapid City Police Department
  • 2018 - Starr Chief Eagle

Chief Henry Standing Bear was a strong, proud and progressive leader who believed that education was instrumental in preserving the culture and living heritage of the American Indian peoples. He was an eloquent writer and learned at an early age that he would be able to advance his ideals much more effectively using the mighty pen. This is evidenced in his invitation to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in which Standing Bear communicated that he and his fellow chiefs wanted the world to know that "the Red Man has great heroes also." Once Korczak accepted Standing Bear's invitation he ensured education was an essential part of the mission at Crazy Horse Memorial®. The dream that started with Standing Bear's desire was the genesis of what has become an incredible vision and story that remains in a state of becoming.

As with any great dream, Crazy Horse Memorial's education efforts started small. In 1978 the Crazy Horse Memorial® scholarship program began with a single college  scholarship of $250. Korczak called it a "modest effort now toward the future, long-range educational goals of Crazy Horse." Today the cumulative total awarded to American Indian students attending colleges or universities in South Dakota exceeds $2 million. Eligible applicants must be: American Indian students who plan to attend, or are attending a South Dakota college, university, vocational-technical school or tribal college. Crazy Horse Memorial® does not process scholarship applications and is not involved in the selection process. Funds are distributed to qualifying colleges, universities and technical institutions and recipients are selected by the institutions of higher education. Interested students should contact the financial aid office at their college.

In the last nine years, over 250 students from over 40 native Nations and 20 states have successfully completed the program and continued their college studies at universities and colleges throughout the United States. Native students who start college at THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® are provided an unconventional level of student support from Indian University retention coaches, regardless of where students pursue their degrees. Each year University administrators complete a college persistence/college graduation research report on summer program participants. The last survey attained a 91% response rate and confirmed that 78% of the respondents remained in college or had graduated. College graduates currently work as teachers, counselors, nurses, an assistant museum curator, business professionals, and a dental hygienist. Over 50% of the college graduates have returned to the reservation to share their talents or they are employed with a Native-led organization.

Summer 2019 University Program

Program description, admission requirements and additional information can be found on the fact sheet by clicking the button below.

2019 Summer Program Fact Sheet

Summer 2019 University Program Application

Click the button below to download the application form for THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® Summer 2019 University Program

Apply Now

OFFICERS

  • Chairman - Joe Dobbs
  • Vice Chairman - Dr. Sidney Goss
  • Secretary - Jadwiga Ziolkowski
  • Treasurer - Lloyd Sohl

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Mary Abu-Ghazaleh – Sioux Falls, SD
  • Roger Broer – Hill City, SD
  • Gary Brown – Rapid City, SD
  • Joe Dobbs – Rapid City, SD
  • F. Joseph DuBray – Sandy, UT
  • Dr. Sidney Goss – Deadwood, SD
  • Dr. Richard Gowen – Rapid City, SD
  • Bishop Robert Gruss – Rapid City, SD
  • Steve Helmers – Rapid City, SD
  • Dr. Jeff Henderson – Rapid City, SD
  • Kay Jorgensen – Spearfish, SD
  • Don Montileaux – Rapid City, SD
  • David Olson – Sioux Falls, SD
  • Gary Renner – Spearfish, SD
  • Amanda Scott – Rapid City, SD
  • Mary Scull – Rapid City, SD
  • Wes Shelton – Rapid City, SD
  • Lloyd Sohl – Rapid City, SD
  • Ivan Sorbel – Kyle, SD
  • Dick Tobias – Rapid City, SD
  • Dr. Laurel Vermillion – McLaughlin, SD
  • Dan Warren – Hermosa, SD
  • Jadwiga Ziolkowski – Crazy Horse, SD
  • Monique Ziolkowski – Crazy Horse, SD
  • Vaughn Ziolkowski – Custer, SD

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 Executive Management Team comprised of daughters of Korczak and Ruth and CEOs, Jadwiga and Monique Ziolkowski and President and COO, Dr. Laurie Becvar, With the recent passing of Mrs. Ruth Ziolkowski this newly named leadership team has been appointed to carry on the Dream. Realizing fully the importance of the task given to them, this team remains committed to the original purpose, mission, and ideals of the Memorial. 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 Executive Management Team 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.

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

A Complex Process, Stated Simply

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

The actual carving of Crazy Horse Mountain continues with a perfect, and necessary, blend of skill and knowledge in engineering, geology, and art. These abilities are contained within a select group of dedicated Mountain Crew Members who are willing to work hard. The members of the Crazy Horse Mountain Crew are experts in equipment operation, engineering, and precision blasting. Safety is the Crew’s top priority.

The carving process is deeply complex. With the Mountain as the centerpiece of the Crazy Horse Mission, and an exposed work-of-art in progress, it is a perpetual conversation piece. Sharing pertinent facts for such conversations is truly important to us at the Memorial.

Simplified, and viewing the picture fully “zoomed-out”, Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski’s scale model, increased exponentially, is being carved in granite to honor all North American Indians. The finished sculpture of Lakota Warrior Crazy Horse upon his Steed will be 563’ high and 641’ long.

When zoomed in to view more detail, the process gains complexity.

Measure, Survey, Repeat

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

A vital step in telling this story in stone is ensuring Sculptor Korczak’s masterpiece fits within’ its granite boundaries. Korczak himself relied on artistic estimates and his incredibly trained eye and natural feel for dimensions and scale. He used a combination of his artistic visual ability, tape measures, and a beautiful old theodolite (survey instrument) to determine the basic location of his model within the Mountain and to begin the process of removing excess rock.

In the late 1980s, after Korczak had passed away and the progressing Sculpture was under the direction of his wife Ruth, a 48-foot long measuring boom was fixed to the top of Crazy Horse's Head to accomplish carving Crazy Horse’s Face. Daughter of Korczak and Ruth, and current Mountain Carving Director, Monique Ziolkowski, spent countless hours gathering exact measurements using the pointing system on her Dad’s 1/34th scale model of Crazy Horse's Face. A plumb bob suspended from the measuring boom was then used to transfer numbers to the Mountain.

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

Existing systems for measuring have evolved steadily throughout the course of history, yet, this step has remained basically the same since the beginning; measure the scale models and transfer the measurements, multiplied exponentially, to the Mountain.  Now, measurements are gathered from several working scale models, ranging from 1/34th to 1/300th, which have evolved with gained knowledge of the Mountain’s geology.

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

The Crew relies on laser scanners that provide a three-dimensional computer model of the planned sculpture from working scale models. Laser scanning equipment has been used to measure the entire Mountain on several occasions. This technique allows for measuring many points quickly and accurately and then to build 'digital models' of the Mountain in engineering computers, which allow us to see Korczak’s model inside the Mountain.

On the Mountain, a survey control system was developed after Crazy Horse’s Face was completed. This instrument, known as a Total Station, measures very precise angles and distances from known control points to calculate three-dimensional coordinates for any point on the Mountain. It uses an infrared beam reflected from a hand-held prism to measure distances up to several thousand feet with accuracy to the nearest 1/1000th of a foot.

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

Collectively, these techniques and tools provide measurements and coordinates for the Carvers to guide them in removing the rock that covers the Sculpture.

So how do they remove the rock?

Drilling

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

Equipment has evolved from Korczak's use of a single-jack (sledge hammer and steel) to drill the holes for the first blast on the Mountain. With the current focus being very near finish grade, the Carvers take away most rock by hand and with very little blasting. The Mountain Crew uses hydraulic drills, some mounted on large pieces of equipment, as well as hand drills.

Feathers and Wedging and Taking Rock Away

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

Using pre-drilled holes, Crew Members pound in feathers and wedge sets, which allow them to break the rock free from the Carving. In addition, they have recently acquired rock splitters, which do the same thing as a feathers and wedge set with less effort required physically.

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

After rock has been severed from the Mountain, the majority is hauled away by a variety of methods. The Manitou 3255RT is extremely useful in carrying away both large boulders with straps attached or a load of smaller fragments in the three-sided custom welded box. On Crazy Horse’s Head, the Potain I go T 130 self-erecting Crane is responsible for lowering most fragments to the ground. After granite pieces are on the main ground level from any of the current work areas, they are hauled away by a pick-up with a dump box.

Blasting

With present-day work areas so near to finish grade, very little blasting is used currently. When it is, all blasts at Crazy Horse are designed, drilled, and executed to protect the rock that is left after the blast. This is the opposite of most blasting operations, where the main concern is the final size and location of the material being blasted away. The mountain crew prepares most blasts using a system that explosive engineers call "pre-splitting." This is similar to perforating a piece of paper to allow it to tear evenly. The rock to be removed is drilled on all sides with a series of parallel drill holes. Explosives are detonated throughout the entire length of each of the drill holes, cleanly removing the desired rock while leaving the remaining rock undamaged.

Finishing

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

Finishing work is accomplished as it was on Crazy Horse's Face. A jet torch running on diesel fuel and compressed air (operating at 3,300 degrees (F)) is used in a process is called spalling. Spalling removes drill marks and makes the surface smooth. The tip of Crazy Horse’s Left Index finger was smoothed by torch in late 2017. The Carvers have found the recently acquired remote controlled Brokk 110 an extremely useful addition to hold the torch safely and steadily.

The final finishing step, and repeated maintenance task, is to seal the natural seams in the granite to minimize the naturally occurring effects of freeze/thaw cycles.

Work in Many Areas

Carving Crazy Horse Mountain

The Mountain Crew is steadily removing rock from several areas simultaneously. With the Carvers split into smaller groups, safely and deliberately speckled across the Sculpture in progress, it is quite a sight that has only been imagined to this day. It is important to remember, even on the World's Largest Mountain Carving, space is limited. This strategic placement of Carvers is a necessity as their safety and the integrity of the Monument relies heavily upon respecting the allowable capacities (laborers and equipment) for each space.

The Mountain Crew is currently removing rock on Crazy Horse’s Left Hand, which will be about 25 feet tall. The extended Left Index Finger, resting on the supporting Horse’s Mane will be nearly 29 ½ feet long.

Other areas of the sculpture taking shape are Crazy Horse’s Left Arm, his Left Knuckle area, the top of his Head and Hairline, and the Horse’s Mane.

For weekly facts about the work on the Mountain, check out our #MountainMonday posts on Facebook.

Korczak and Ruth prepared 3 books of comprehensive measurements to guide the continuation of the Mountain Carving in the event of Sculptor Korczak’s death. That day arrived in 1982 when Korczak passed away at the age of 74. After Korczak’s passing, Ruth served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

Public sentiment was skeptical that the Crazy Horse dream could continue without Korczak. Armed with the detailed books she prepared with her husband; Ruth took the reins and directed Crazy Horse Memorial into a new era.

April 30, 1939

Study of an Immortal

Boston-born sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski works briefly as assistant to Gutzon Borglum carving Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills. Later that year, he wins first prize for sculpture at the New York World's Fair with his marble portrait, Paderewski: Study of an Immortal.

Paderewski Sculpture and Korczak

November 7, 1939

The Letter

Learning of Korczak's success at the New York World's Fair, Chief Henry Standing Bear writes a letter asking for Korczak's assistance in building a monument for Native Americans.

Chief Henry Standing Bears letter to Korczak

May 30, 1940

The Meeting

Korczak visits Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to meet Chief Henry Standing Bear. He learns about Crazy Horse and makes a clay model (with right arm outstretched).

Korczak standing with Chief Henry Standing Bear

January 1, 1941

Noah Webster

Korczak sculpts 12.5-foot-tall Noah Webster statue as a gift to West Hartford, Conn. Ruth Ross is among student volunteers helping with the project. The sculptor studies extensively about Crazy Horse and Native American culture.

Korczak sculpting Noah Webster statue

January 10, 1943

Called to War

Korczak volunteers, at age 34, for service in WWII. At war's end, the sculptor decides to accept the invitation of American Indian elders and turns down government commission to create war memorials in Europe.

Korczak with bicycle

May 30, 1946

Planning

The elders insist Crazy Horse be carved in their sacred Black Hills. Standing Bear and Korczak locate the 600-foot-high Thunderhead Mountain. Korczak uses his own money to buy privately-owned land nearby. From stone off the Noah Webster Statue, Korczak sculpts the Tennessee marble Crazy Horse scale model.

Korczak with Crazy Horse Memorial Model

May 3, 1947

The Move

Korczak arrives at Crazy Horse on May 3 at age 38.He then lives in a tent while building log-studio home. Korczak decides to carve the entire 563-foot Mountain rather than just the top 100 feet as first planned. Ruth Ross is among volunteers arriving on June 21st.

Korczak standing next to his tent

June 3, 1948

First Blast

The Memorial is dedicated June 3, 1948 with the first blast on the Mountain. Special guests include five of the nine survivors of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Korczak promises Crazy Horse will be a nonprofit educational and cultural humanitarian project financed by the interested public and not with government tax money. He pledges never to take a salary at Crazy Horse. Korczak single-jacks four holes for the first blast, which takes off 10 tons.

1948 image of the mountain

January 1, 1949

Old Buda

Work begins on the Mountain with a horizontal cut under the Horse's Mane. The Sculptor works alone with one small jackhammer powered by a gas compressor ("Old Buda") at the bottom of the Mountain.

Korczak with gas compressor jackhammer

November 23, 1950

Wedding on the Mountain

Following a second summer of work on the Mane cut, Sculptor marries Ruth Ross on Thanksgiving Day.

Korczak and Ruth on their wedding day

May 1, 1951

Outline

Korczak paints outline of Crazy Horse on the Mountain with 6 foot lines using 176 gallons of paint. Korczak and Ruth begin drafting three books of comprehensive plans and measurement for the Mountain carving.

Korczak on the mountain with rope

April 15, 1952

The Bucket

Korczak starts cut for the 90 foot tall profile of Crazy Horse's face. He uses "the bucket" aerial cable car run by an antique Chevy engine working to haul equipment and tools to the top of the Mountain.

Korczak in the aerial cable car

October 13, 1953

Goodbye, Old Friend

Sculptor continues work in front of Crazy Horse's face, blasting down to below the nose area. The first bulldozer was purchased for work on the Mountain. In the winter season Korczak carves the nearly seven-ton Sitting Bull Monument. The "Original Dreamer" Chief Henry Standing Bear dies.

Chief Henry Standing Bear sitting

July 23, 1960

Continuing the Dream

Cut in front of the face down to the chin area is complete and work clearing rock above the outstretched arm has begun. The "Buda" compressor is moved to the top of the Mountain. Construction of the gravel Avenue of the Chiefs direct from Hwy 16-385 port of entry to studio-home. The first dozer is working on top of the Mountain.

1960 image of the mountain

August 5, 1961 - October 16, 1965

Leveling

Additions to the buildings on the property are completed (sun room, workshop, roof over visitor viewing porch, a large garage and machine shop). First leveling above outstretched arm is complete, the tunnel under the arm is started and a 26-ton scaffold on tracks in front of Crazy Horse's face is built for future use.

Korczak in front of sign

January 2, 1966 - December 31, 1970

1966-1970

Carving on the horse's mane and in front of the rider's chest continues. The tunnel under the arm reaches daylight on the other side. The Charles Eder collection is donated to THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and the U.S. Post office opens at Crazy Horse with Ruth as the postmistress.

Ruth at the Post Office window

May 9, 1971 - November 10, 1976

Tunnel & Tombs

The tunnel under the arm continues to be enlarged. Korczak builds his tomb at the base of the Mountain. A new museum is built and dedicated in 1973 and the visitors complex is expanded. Work continues in front of the horse's head. Reader's Digest U.S. bicentennial book ranks Crazy Horse as "one of the seven wonders of the modern world."

Construction starting on the tunnel and tombs

September 6, 1977 - December 31, 1981

40,000 Ton Blast

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Crazy Horse's death and the first blast on Crazy Horse Memorial a 40,000 ton blast is conducted. The scholarship program is started with a single scholarship of $250. Work continues on blocking out the horse's head and plans for the expanded THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® are created.

Mountain blast

October 20, 1982

The Torch Passes

Korczak dies unexpectedly at the age of 74. His wife, Ruth is and all 10 of their children are with him as he is laid to rest in the tomb he and his sons built near the Mountain. He leaves with Ruth scale models and the three books of comprehensive plans and measurements they prepared for the carving. She and their large family express their dedication and determination to carry on the Crazy Horse dream according to his detailed plans. Tributes arrive from throughout the nation and many foreign countries. Korczak is eulogized as a man of "legends, dreams, visions and greatness," and Indian representatives proclaim that "two races of people have lost a great man."

Korczak with cigar

January 1, 1983 - December 31, 1987

New Leadership

Ruth assumes the role of President and CEO of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. Overall blocking out continues on the Mountain. The viewing deck is expanded, restaurant created and the Cultural Center building is started. Detailed measurements are made on Crazy Horse Mountain & Models to determine where the work should be focused.

Korczak and Ruth

May 1, 1988

Carving an Icon

Work begins on carving Crazy Horse's face. In five short years the forehead, eyes and most of the area under the nose has been finished.

Ruth standing with Crazy Horse Memorial face

January 1, 1989 - December 31, 1997

Blocking

Work continues on the face with completion of the nose lobes, mouth, lips and cheeks are blocked out.

Workers burning stone on Crazy Horse Memorial

June 3, 1998

50th Anniversary

The face of Crazy Horse is complete! A dedication ceremony and unveiling of the face is done June 3, 1998 (50th anniversary of the Memorial's first blast).

Flag coming off of the Crazy Horse Memorial face

January 1, 1999 - December 31, 2005

Benches

Blasting begins to create 20 foot horizontal benches (access roads) to the 219 foot horse's head. The Welcome Center is expanded, along with road access to the visitor center.

Aerial shot of the entire memorial

January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2011

THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®

The work on blocking out and creating benches continues. THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, Summer Program begins affording students the opportunity to earn their first semester of college credits at Crazy Horse Memorial®.

Ruth with a recent Indian University of North America graduate

January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2014

Finishing Crazy Horse's Hand

Many more benches are created on the Mountain and work begins on the finishing work of Crazy Horse's outstretched hand and the horse's mane. Ruth Ziolkowski "Mrs. Z", passes away. The task of continuing the Crazy Horse dream has been passed on her children and the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation's board of directors.

Photo of entire mountain carving

May 21, 2014

Beloved Mrs. Z Passes Away

Ruth Ziolkowski (1926-2014) passes away after a short battle with Cancer. Her passion, persistence, vision and leadership was and will always be an inspiration to us all.

Korczak and Ruth sitting together

January 1, 2015

2015 & Beyond!

Focus has turned to finishing work on the outstretched arm and hand of Crazy Horse along with the horse's mane. A pointing boom was installed late 2014 to allow for precise measuring. Most of the work that will continue on this area of the mountain will be done by hand.

Crazy Horse Memorial pictured with the original model
When he arrived at Crazy Horse

When he arrived at Crazy Horse

Korczak, almost 40, knew that he had willingly dedicated his life to keeping his promise to the American Indian people. However, he did not know until later that he would marry Ruth Ross and they would have 10 children. This turn of events made him both happy and proud, and Crazy Horse became a family story.

The children at school

The family in front of the Crazy Horse School

The family in front of the model

The Ziolkowski family on the deck

Korczak, almost 40, knew that he had willingly dedicated his life to keeping his promise to the American Indian people. However, he did not know until later that he would marry Ruth Ross and they would have 10 children. This turn of events made him both happy and proud, and Crazy Horse became a family story.

Later, when there were so many Ziolkowski children in school at one time, Korczak decided the practical thing to do was to open his own school. So, he moved a one-room school house to Crazy Horse, where several of the youngsters got their grade school education from a certified teacher. The self-taught sculptor was also a teacher at heart, and he schooled his family in every aspect of Crazy Horse, including the special skills of Mountain Carving.

The boys grew up helping their father on the Mountain, the girls assisted their mother in the ever expanding Visitor Complex. Everyone helped with the dairy farm, the lumber mill, and the multitude of other year-around activities at Crazy Horse, where, since 1947, the construction has never stopped.

As they reached adulthood, the Ziolkowski sons and daughters demonstrated that Korczak and Ruth imparted to their family not only knowledge and skill, but also a deep love of the Crazy Horse dream. All were free to leave; seven remained involved in the project.

The Torch Was Passed

When Korczak died unexpectedly on October 20,1982. Ruth and her children, together with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Board of Directors, guided Crazy Horse and its ongoing progress. As Ruth said, "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." It was Ruth who, after much thought, study and research decided to shift the carving efforts from the Horse's Head to Crazy Horse's Face. A demonstration of Ruth's attention to detail was evident when she responded to a question on when progress would be made on the Mountain after Korczak's passing with: "When I am satisfied we have verified all the measurements-and not until then-we will proceed. And we will proceed very deliberately, cautiously and carefully-to protect personal safety as well as the Mountain. Korczak would have it no other way."

This decisive move allowed the public to see progress and have continued faith in the project. Ruth also oversaw a time of great expansion to the offerings at Crazy Horse Memorial®. Under her direction, the new wing of the THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® was built, which now houses over 11,000 Native American artifacts from tribes across North America. She also saw to the completion of the THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER®, which allows visitors the opportunity to do hands-on activities and interact with American Indian artisans. Ruth was instrumental in starting THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® Summer Program in 2010 which is continuing to further the educational efforts of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

Ruth with the children and grandchildren

Ruth with the children and grandchildren

Ruth was a dreamer who had the determination to make those dreams come true. "You can't just have the dream. You've got to work for that dream...This is a team effort. If wouldn't be here if we didn't have a lot of great people."-Ruth Ziolkowski, 2006

On May 21, 2014 the Ziolkowski matriarch Ruth Ziolkowski passed away. Ruth's passion, persistence, vision, and leadership was and will always be an inspiration to us all. Ruth was the face of hospitality at Crazy Horse Memorial for over 60 years. In that time, she made many friends whom she was always truly appreciative of. Ruth once said, "I am so grateful for all the friendships created over many, many years and the kindness shown me. The friends we make are one of life's true treasures and I am richly blessed beyond my greatest dream."

Today, progress of the Dream continues with second and third generation Ziolkowski Family members, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Board of Directors, and a dedicated staff.

The remarkable Ziolkowski Family is motivated by their individual and collective dedication, determination, and courage to carry on Korczak’s work. They are supported by his great faith and confidence in them, schooled by his years of instruction, toughened by his example and uplifted by his sense of humor. They are also guided by his detailed plans and scale models and inspired by his life, vision, legacy, and most importantly, by what he often referred to as “the beauty and justice of the Crazy Horse dream.”

Ruth Ziolkowski was born Ruth Carolyn Ross to Frank and Lydia Ross on June 26, 1926, in West Hartford, Connecticut. She first met Korczak Ziolkowski at age 13 when she and a girlfriend mustered the courage to call the sculptor's home in West Hartford seeking the autograph of a movie star who was visiting Korczak at the time. Two years later, Ruth met Korczak again when she was among a group of volunteers helping to raise money for the 13 ½ foot tall statue of Noah Webster which the sculptor was carving as a gift to West Hartford.

Korczak and Ruths Wedding in 1950

Korczak and Ruth's Wedding in 1950

In 1947 at the age of 20, Ruth arrived in the Black Hills as a volunteer to help create a memorial honoring the Native American Indian (Crazy Horse Memorial®). She helped Korczak prepare the logs for the log studio-home as well as the 741-step wooden staircase to the top of the Mountain.

As Ruth and Korczak continued to work together a great love formed. Ziolkowski and Ross were married Thanksgiving Day; November 23, 1950. The Ziolkowski family quickly grew with Ruth and Korczak welcoming ten children into the world. Five boys and Five girls were born in the cabin that Ruth helped build when first moving to the Black Hills.

In the early years at Crazy Horse Memorial®, Ruth oversaw all day-to-day operations. This included the timber mill and dairy farm on the property; the only means of income for the Carving and the Ziolkowski family. Ruth was also in charge of the purchasing and spending for the family and the Mountain.

Korczak and Ruth

Korczak and Ruth

Together, Korczak and Ruth prepared 3 books of comprehensive measurements for the Mountain Carving to ensure its continuation. In 1982 when Korczak passed away at the age of 74 Ruth served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

"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

Public sentiment was skeptical that the Crazy Horse dream could continue without Korczak. Armed with the detailed books she prepared with her husband; Ruth took the reins and directed Crazy Horse Memorial® into a new era.

Ruth with face in 1993

After much contemplation, Ruth decided to shift the Mountain Carving efforts from the 219 feet high Horse's Head to the 87.5 feet high Face of Crazy Horse, creating a heroic profile that visitors could see.

Ruth with the family in front of the Stallions sculpture

Ruth with the family in front of the Stallions sculpture

Ruth is also credited with the expansion of the public facilities to accommodate the growing number of visitors and keep with the Crazy Horse Memorial® mission of honoring the culture, tradition, and living heritage of the North American Indians. Ruth's improvements to the facilities include; a 300-seat theater, a wing to THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®, expansions to the parking lot and viewing veranda, and addition of gift shops, a restaurant, a library, a laser show, and much more. Ruth worked tirelessly to expand on the cultural and educational offerings at Crazy Horse Memorial®. Her legacy will also include the additions of THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER® and THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®.

On May 21, 2014, Ruth Ziolkowski passed away after a short battle with cancer. Ruth was laid to rest near Korczak's tomb. The Crazy Horse Dream has been handed to the next generation with 4 of the 10 children and several grandchildren working to continue the legacy of Chief Henry Standing Bear, Korczak Ziolkowski and Ruth Ziolkowski.

Without Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski there would be no Crazy Horse Memorial®. Its history revolves around his own extraordinary story, which is reflected in his log studio-home, workshop, and sculptural galleries at Crazy Horse. His life and work are an inspiration to many.

Although he became most famous as a Mountain Carver, he was a noted studio sculptor and member of the National Sculpture Society before he came west. Crazy Horse represents only the second half of his life. Korczak said it was the collective experience of the difficult first half of his life that prepared him for Crazy Horse.

Korczak hand drilling

"My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, also." - Henry Standing Bear

Born in Boston of Polish descent, Korczak was orphaned at age one. He grew up in a series of foster homes. As a boy he was badly mistreated, but he learned to work very hard. He also gained heavy construction knowledge and other skills helping his foster father.

On his own at 16, Korczak took odd jobs to put himself through Rindge Technical School in Cambridge, MA, after which he became an apprentice patternmaker in the shipyards on the rough Boston waterfront. He experimented with woodworking, making beautiful furniture. At age 18, he handcrafted a grandfather clock from 55 pieces of Santa Domingo mahogany. Although he never took a lesson in art or sculpture, he studied the masters and began creating plaster and clay studies. In 1932, he used a coal chisel to carve his first portrait, a marble tribute to Judge Frederick Pickering Cabot, the famous Boston juvenile judge who had befriended and encouraged the gifted boy and introduced him to the world of fine arts.

Moving to West Hartford, Conn., Korczak launched a successful studio career doing commissioned sculpture throughout New England, Boston, and New York.

Korczak Side Look with Cigar

His Carrara marble portrait, “PADEREWSKI, Study of an Immortal,” won first prize by popular vote at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Korczak standing by the tomb

"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 worthwhile."

A childhood dream came true when he was asked to assist Gutzon Borglum at Mount Rushmore during the summer of 1939. Media reports about Korczak’s World’s Fair prize and work at Mt. Rushmore prompted Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear to start writing to the sculptor, appealing to him to create a memorial to American Indians. The two eventually met and even toured potential carving sites.

Back in Connecticut, Korczak spent two years carving his 13 1/2-foot tall Noah Webster Statue as a gift to West Hartford. The work drew national attention but embroiled the community, and the sculptor in controversy, foreshadowing what was to come at Crazy Horse. At age 34, he volunteered for service in World War II. He landed on Omaha Beach and, later, was wounded.

At war’s end, he was invited to make government war memorials in Europe. However, he decided to accept the invitation of Chief Standing Bear and other supporters and dedicated the rest of his life to Crazy Horse Memorial®.

"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 worthwhile."

Korczak arrived in the Black Hills on May 3, 1947. He worked on the project until his death on October 20, 1982, at age 74. During his nearly 36 years of working on the Mountain, he refused to take any salary at Crazy Horse Memorial®. He is laid to rest in the tomb that he and his sons blasted from a rock outcropping at the base of the mountain. He wrote his own epitaph for the tomb door and cut the letters from steel plate.

It reads:

KORCZAK Storyteller in Stone
May His Remains Be Left Unknown

As a student at Carlisle

Chief Henry Standing Bear as a student at Carlisle

Brule Lakota Henry Standing Bear was born near Pierre, South Dakota, along the Missouri River – probably in 1874. In his early teens, Standing Bear became one of the first Native Americans to attend Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania where he took on the name of "Henry." As a result of attending Carlisle, Standing Bear concluded that in order to best help his people, it would be necessary for him to learn the ways of the non-Native world. Somewhat ironically, Carlisle – an institution that was designed to assimilate Native Americans out of their indigenous ways – became a source of inspiration that Standing Bear would repeatedly draw upon to shape his enlightened understanding of cross-cultural relationships, as well as to find new ways of preserving his people's culture and history. Standing Bear began to develop and hone leadership skills like public speaking, reasoning, and writing. In addition, Standing Bear realized that because of the changing times, the battle for cultural survival was no longer to be waged with weapons, but with words and ideas. Subsequently, this realization became a driving force behind much of his work during his adult life and led him to become a strong proponent of education.

Standing Bear attended night school in Chicago while he worked for the Sears Roebuck Company to pay for his schooling. In large part as a result of his education and his willingness to engage the non-Native world, he became heavily involved in the affairs of his people over the course of his life —working with Senator Francis Case and serving as a member of the South Dakota Indian Affairs Commission. He even led the initiative to honor President Calvin Coolidge with a traditional name – "Leading Eagle." Not one to miss an opportunity for advocacy; during the naming ceremony Standing Bear challenged President Coolidge to take up the leadership role that had been previously filled by highly-respected leaders such as Sitting Bull and Red Cloud.

Chief Henry Standing Bear and Korczak

Chief Henry Standing Bear and Korczak

In 1933, Standing Bear learned of a monument that was to be constructed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. The monument was to honor his maternal cousin, Crazy Horse, who was killed at Fort Robinson in 1877. Standing Bear wrote to James Cook who was steering the planned project – sharing with Cook that he and many of his fellow Lakota leaders had formed the Crazy Horse Memorial Association and were promoting a carving of Crazy Horse in the sacred Paha Sapa – Black Hills. Standing Bear explained that as a relative of Crazy Horse, it was culturally appropriate for him to initiate such a memorial to his cousin. In addition, Standing Bear believed strongly that the Black Hills, because of the spiritual significance to the Lakota people, was the only appropriate place for such a memorial. These two beliefs would finally lead Standing Bear to search for a man with skills great enough to carve a memorial to Crazy Horse.

Chief Henry Bear Sitting and Looking Up

Standing Bear was determined

He would not rest until there was a memorial located in the Black Hills which honored his people, and equally large in scope and vision as the memorial being carved at Mt. Rushmore. At one point, he even approached Gutzon Borglum to advocate for a Native American addition to the Shrine of Democracy.

In keeping with the legacy of persistence and advocacy that he created during his lifetime, Standing Bear refused to give up. His continued search would eventually lead him to prize-winning sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski.

Chief Henry Standing Bears Letter to Korczak

Standing Bear is reported to have spoken on behalf of the elders when he invited Korczak Ziolkowski to carve a Memorial to honor his people. Chief Henry Standing Bear shared a message of hope and reconciliation. Korczak accepted the invitation and the project began. On June 3rd, 1948, motioning toward Thunderhead Mountain, Standing Bear conveyed to those in attendance at the dedication ceremony that the newly-initiated Memorial would serve to create cross-cultural understanding and to mend relations between Natives and non-Natives – an especially powerful sentiment coming from a man who spent his entire life working to understand others and, in turn, educate others about his people and their culture.

Crazy Horse or Tasunke Witco was born as a member of the Oglala Lakota on Rapid Creek about 40 miles northeast of Thunderhead Mt. (now Crazy Horse Mountain) in c. 1840.  It was a time when cultures clashed, and land became an issue of deadly contention and traditional Native ways were threatened and oppressed.  Crazy Horse responded by putting the needs of his people above his own, which would forever embed him and his legacy in American History.  He was killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, by a soldier around midnight on September 5, 1877.

Crazy Horse Memorial Flag

Crazy Horse Memorial Flag

The son of a medicine man, Crazy Horse spent the early years of his life raised by the women of his tiospaye or family. Once Crazy Horse was old enough he set out on one of the most important rites of passage to a Lakota warrior…the Vision Quest (Hanbleceya – "crying for a vision” or "to pray for a spiritual experience"). This rite of passage gave Crazy Horse guidance on his path in life.  He went alone into the hills for four days without food or water and cried for a dream to the great spirits.

By the time Crazy Horse was in his mid-teens he was already a full-fledged warrior.  His bravery and prowess in battle were well-known by the Lakota people.  He rode into battle with a single hawk feather in his hair, a rock behind his ear, and a lightning symbol on his face.  The symbols and rituals that went into preparing for war provided the warrior power and protection.

In 1876, Crazy Horse led a band of Lakota warriors against Custer’s Seventh U.S. Cavalry battalion.  They called this the Battle of the Little Bighorn also known as Custer’s Last Stand and the Battle of the Greasy Grass.  Custer, 9 officers, and 280 enlisted men, all lay dead after the fighting was over.  According to tribes who participated in the battle 32 Indians were killed.  Without Crazy Horse and his followers the battle’s outcome would have been much different as he was integral in stopping reinforcements from arriving.

1948 Standing Bear Korczak Mickelson survivors

1948 Standing Bear Korczak Mickelson survivors

It was after the Battle of the Little Bighorn that the United States Government would send scouts to round up any Northern Plains tribes who resisted.  This forced many Indian Nations to move across the country, always followed by soldiers, until starvation or exposure would force them to surrender.  This is how Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa Lakota were forced into submission.

In 1877, under a flag of truce, Crazy Horse went to Fort Robinson. Negotiations with U.S. Military leaders stationed at the Fort broke down. Eye witnesses blame the breakdown in negotiations on the translator who incorrectly translated what Crazy Horse said. Crazy Horse was quickly escorted toward the jail. Once he realized that the commanding officers were planning on imprisoning him, he struggled and drew his knife. Little Big Man, friend and fellow warrior of Crazy Horse, tried to restrain him. As Crazy Horse continued to free himself, an infantry guard made a successful lunge with a bayonet and mortally wounded the great warrior. Crazy Horse died shortly after the mortal wound was inflicted. There are different accounts putting the date of his death around midnight September 5, 1877.

It is a well-known fact that Crazy Horse refused to have his picture or likeness taken.  Crazy Horse lived under the assumption that by taking a picture a part of his soul would be taken and his life would be shortened.  The popular response to photograph requests would be, “Would you imprison my shadow too?”.  The likeness that Korczak created for Crazy Horse Memorial® was developed by descriptions from survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn and other contemporaries of Crazy Horse the man. 

Crazy Horse Wooden Bust

Wooden bust of Crazy Horse's likeness

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski decided to create a monument that captured Crazy Horse’s likeness based on the descriptions provided to honor the principles and values for which Native Americans stood and to honor all the indigenous people of North America.  With Crazy Horse riding his steed out of the granite of the sacred Black Hills with his left hand gesturing forward in response to the derisive question asked by a Cavalry man, “Where are your lands now?”  Crazy Horse replied, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”

Documentation:

Crazy Horse Memorial® is located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The elevation on the Mountain is 6,532 feet above sea level and ranks 27th highest mountain in South Dakota. It is made of pegmatite granite and was chosen by Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski & Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear for the Crazy Horse Memorial®.

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 following these objectives:

Mountain view

Mountain Dimensions

Planned Mountain Dimensions - geology of rock could be responsible for adjustments.

Entire Carving

641 feet long and 563 feet high

Crazy Horse Dimensions

Crazy Horse's Face
87 feet, 6 inches (completed June 3, 1998)

Outstretched Arm
263 feet

Opening under arm
70 feet wide and 100 feet hihg

Finger
29 feet, 6 inches

Horse Dimensions

Horse's Head
219 feet high (22 stories)

Horse's Mane
62 feet high

Horse's Ears
54 feet long

Horse's Eyes
20 feet wide and 15 feet high

Horse's Nostrils
26 foot diameter

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

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

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.

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.

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

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 AND CULTURAL CENTER®; and by establishing and operating THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® and, when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.

Crazy Horse Memorial® is being carved in the Black Hills, which are among the earth’s oldest geological formations. All the individual mineral, rock and 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.

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!

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

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 following these objectives:

Restated Articles of Incorporation of ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

Preamble

History repeatedly has witnessed the submergence of minorities. The culture and tradition of the conquered not infrequently have been lost and posterity has been deprived of valuable record. Thus history has left its imprint on the Dakotas. The cultures and traditions of the North American Indian, in their sociological, political and economic progression, are in danger of being obliterated. Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota chief, sensing this calamity, conceived the idea of a portrait likeness of the Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, carved out of the lasting granite of his Paha Sapa. To create this memorial he enlisted the sympathies of Korczak Ziolkowski, who already had given much of his time, energy, artistic skill, and resources to the initial phases of such a project.

Others with no less worthy motives advocate a memorial with kindred purposes in the nature of an institution of present, pulsing vitality. It would be cruel indeed if only one ideal could be expended. But no such choice was necessary. As Korczak Ziolkowski conceived it, this monument may well be the symbol, the impelling force to perpetuate the active memorial. To this end, he proposed the creation of a memorial including both features on Crazy Horse Mountain, a hitherto unnamed peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and in the area adjacent thereto. It is to carry out these joint ideals that this corporation was formed and the following individuals acted together as organizers and directors for the purpose of forming this non-profit corporation under the laws of South Dakota...

Article One

The name of the corporation shall be: ©Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

Article Two

The term of existence of this Foundation shall be perpetual.

Article Three

The purpose of this Foundation shall be to establish, promote, maintain and support on an entirely non-profit basis in perpetuity, a memorial to the Indians of North America on and adjacent to Crazy Horse Memorial® in Custer County, South Dakota, including a colossal carving of a Lakota leader, as conceived by Chief Henry Standing Bear and as designed and expanded by Korczak Ziolkowski; and such other additional works, institutions, carvings, buildings and physical plants as hereinafter may be determined by the Board of Directors of the Foundation as proper and requisite to preserve the culture, history and traditions of the North American Indian, all of such activities to be carried upon a non-profit basis for historical, educational, benevolent and charitable purposes in accordance with the objectives, ideals and moving spirit expressed in the preamble.

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