Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse was a well respected Native American leader of the Oglala Sioux tribe. He is known for fighting valiantly against the United States government to try to preserve his people's culture and traditions.

Crazy Horse may be best remembered as defeating U.S. General George A. Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The battle was part of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. The Sioux and Cheyenne tribes combined together to annihilate five companies of the Seventh Cavalry, with Custer himself being killed. Crazy Horse eventually surrendered to Army officials in 1877. He would later die in a skirmish with the Army.

In 1924, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began working on the Mount Rushmore monument under the supervision of Gutzon Borglum. Taking note of this, Chief Henry Standing Bear wrote him a letter, saying in part that he and his fellow chiefs wanted the white man to know that "the red man has great heroes, too." In 1948, he began working on the Crazy Horse Memorial in Black Hills, South Dakota. The monument is of Crazy Horse riding a horse and pointing into the distance.

Ziolkowski refused all funding offers from the U.S. government for the project and the monument has yet to be finished. In 1998, the face was completed and dedicated. Ziolkowski died in 1982, but his family, including seven of his children, still carves and oversees the progress on the monument.

There has been some controversy surrounding the Crazy Horse monument. Some Native Americans are not supportive of the project because the monument is being carved into what they feel is sacred land, even though it is owned by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. There is also some controversy because the monument doesn't look like Crazy Horse, who disliked being photographed. However, Ziolkowski addressed this by saying "Crazy Horse is being carved not so much as a lineal likeness but more as a memorial to the spirit of Crazy Horse -- to his people."

In addition to the monument, there is also a museum and Native American cultural center. If ever completely finished, the monument will be 563 feet high by 641 feet wide. This will make it the world's largest sculpture.

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