Our Ongoing Commitment

Our Ongoing Commitment

Crazy Horse Memorial has progressed through a great many changes and stages of transformation 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, has now entered its fourth era of being – moving from the time of Chief Henry Standing Bear's struggle to communicate 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, and now, into the era of a committed board of directors and a hand-picked, three-person executive management team which includes two daughters of Korczak and Ruth dedicated to leading the nonprofit (501c3) Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation well into the twenty-first century and to continuing the dream of Crazy Horse Memorial that first came into being almost 75 years ago, when Standing Bear, on November 7th, 1939, wrote to Korczak to invite him to the Black Hills of South Dakota 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) and Korczak (1908-1982) and Ruth (1926-2014) Ziolkowski, continue to serve as examples of discernment, determination, courage, faith, imagination, fortitude, freedom, promises, 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 very 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, and led by an executive management team including CEOs and daughters of Korczak and Ruth, Jadwiga and Monique Ziolkowski and Dr. Laurie Becvar, President and Chief Operating Officer. With the recent passing of Mrs. Ruth Ziolkowski, affectionately known to so many as "Mrs. Z," this newly named leadership team has been called upon to carry on the dream. Realizing fully the importance of the task appointed them, this team remains committed to the original purpose, mission, and ideals of the Memorial and 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 simply with a letter, then a series of letters, and eventually became a dialogue between two men from different cultures and that through a lifetime of work from a dedicated wife, mother, and leader, support from hundreds of thousands of visitors and supporters throughout the world, a dedicated board of directors, and now, an executive management team along with diverse staff, faculty, and students has grown into an icon of history, culture, and humanity and continues to possess far-reaching implications for both the state of South Dakota and the nation. Consequently, a new horizon awaits for this vibrant 501c3 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.

Crazy Horse Videos in the News

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  • 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
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    • CBS
  • “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.
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    • Documentary
  • 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
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    • 60Minutes
    • CBS
    • News
  • 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
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    • Documentary
    • HistoryChannel
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  • For over 60 years, work has been underway on sculptor Korczak Ziokowski's Crazy Horse sculpture. Steve will explore the history of Native American hero Crazy Horse and Ziokowski's passionate quest to create the epic sculpture. History Channel
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    • Documentary
    • HistoryChannel
  • 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
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    • CNN
    • Documentary
  • Near Mt. Rushmore, a statue of Crazy Horse is being blasted from the hills.
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    • Documentary
    • TravelChannel
  • Published on Jan 4, 2013 - Tour Crazy Horse Memorial! Black Hills Vacations
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    • BlackHills
  • “No one is ever wrong who desires to do that which is not required of them to do — and that which is of a noble purpose. The purpose of Crazy Horse is noble.”
     
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes also.”
     
    Chief Henry Standing Bear
  • “When the legends die, the dreams end. When the dreams end, there is no more greatness.”
     
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “The Important thing is that we never stop. That’s the main thing. And if you looked at it as strictly a view of being finished, you could get awfully distracted waiting for that day to come. This way, you’re pleased with every little step of progress that you make.”
     
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.”
     
    Crazy Horse
  • “By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwile.”
     
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “He left everything so we can carry on his work, and that’s just what we’re going to do. We’re dedicated to that. His whole life would be wasted if the mountain carving and the humanitarian goals are not completed.”
     
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”
     
    Crazy Horse
  • “If it weren’t for each and every one you, whether your gift was small or large monetarily, whether it was friendship and encouragement, without you we wouldn’t be here…”
     
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “Standing Bear explained that the Indian has a concept of honoring their great heroes that’s totally different from the white man’s. It was difficult for me to understand at first…The Indian uses the direct approach. He says: that man was my ancestor, and he was a great man, so we should honor him-I would not lie or cheat because I am his blood”
     
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor

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

(605) 673-4681

Email: memorial@crazyhorse.org

Upcoming Events

  • Memorial Weekend
    May 26-29
    2017

    Memorial Weekend <br />May 26-29,<br /> 2017
    Native American’s across this great nation have served and sacrificed in the United States Military, join us to honor all fallen heroes who fought and protected our freedom. American Indian artists will be featured throughout the Welcome Center. Admission to the Memorial will be waived with 3 cans of food per person.
  • Legends in Light
    May 26-Oct 1
    2017

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