“My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too.”
These are the words Chief Henry Standing Bear wrote to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in 1939 urging him to come back to the Black Hills and carve a mountain sculpture honoring American Indians. Ziolkowski arrived in the Black Hills in May of 1947. He worked on the mountain until his death on October 20, 1982. His family continues the dream and work progresses on the world’s largest mountain sculpture. When finished, Crazy Horse will stand 641 feet long and 563 feet high.
The memorial consists of the mountain carving (monument), the Indian Museum of North America, and the Native American Cultural Center. The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 17 miles (27 km) from Mount Rushmore. The sculpture’s final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet (195 m) wide and 563 feet (172 m) high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet (27 m) high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet (18 m) high.
The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is far from completion.If completed, it may become the world’s largest sculpture, as well as the first non-religious statue to hold this record since 1967 (when it was held by the Soviet monument The Motherland Calls.