Crazy Horse Memorial
June 22, 2003 10:24 AM   Subscribe

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a monument in progress in the Black Hills of South Dakota (where Mount Rushmore is too.) Dedicated to Crazy Horse, the Oglala Lakota Sioux warrior famous for his role at Little Bighorn, it will be 641 feet long by 563 feet high when completed. There will be a night blast on June 26, weather permitting.
posted by homunculus (19 comments total)
This is great - thanks as ever.
posted by plep at 10:38 AM on June 22, 2003

Odd how they don't mention that Crazy Horse is regarded as a genius at cavalry maneuver. He is known to have invented several tactics not imagined in 1500 years of European cavalry warfare.
And, again to his credit, his *assassination* at the hands of the US cavalry was less done out of revenge then of fear, as much as the assassination of Admiral Yamamoto.
Many felt he was too dangerous to live.

N.B.: Native Americans are seldom credited with innovation, for some reason, but several major inventions, such as center-fired ammunition, can be credited to them.
posted by kablam at 11:27 AM on June 22, 2003

it's been in progress for ages, hasn't it... I stopped by after visiting mt. rushmore (which, incidentally, was never finished either - it was originally meant to include the bodies of the presidents, too) some years ago. Glad to see it's still being worked on, though.
posted by mdn at 11:33 AM on June 22, 2003

that's just as absurd as mt. rushmore. why would you want to carve your human nonsense into the face of the earth? awful.
posted by muckster at 11:55 AM on June 22, 2003

Years and years ago I saw a documentary about the man who started the project. I came away from the show with the feeling that the old guy was never going to get the thing finished. Although it's sad to learn of his death, I'm very pleased that the project is alive. Thanks, homonculus.
posted by scarabic at 12:01 PM on June 22, 2003

that's just as absurd as mt. rushmore. why would you want to carve your human nonsense into the face of the earth? awful.

Because our neighbours are doing it too?
posted by srboisvert at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2003

counterpoint: the surrender at skeleton canyon.

(picture of inscription)
posted by kjh at 2:49 PM on June 22, 2003

reverse heroification.
posted by luckyclone at 3:34 PM on June 22, 2003

It kinda disappoints me that the most of the US Navy's SSBNs (fleet ballistic-missile submarines), named for famous figures in American history, didn't include either Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull, although they did christen the SSBN-628 USS Tecumseh.
posted by alumshubby at 6:40 PM on June 22, 2003

I, too, visited the Crazy Horse monument after checking out Mt. Rushmore, and was much more impressed -- not just because of its scale, which is about four times the size of Rushmore, but also at the administration behind it. Mt. Rushmore has an absurd money-making bent behind it that is abhorrent: as you're not allowed to charge visitors for simply visiting national monuments, they have a required "parking fee" to circumvent the law. And the local police have a great scam to prevent people from trying to park at the side of the road going up to the monument (it's huge, after all, and visible from the road). The entire road up to the monument, starting at the point where it becomes visible, has no parking signs all the way to the top, with an automatic fine if caught. Needless to say, there are cops-a-plenty patrolling the road to ensure no one tries to circumvent paying the piper.

The Crazy Horse monument also has a "parking fee", the major difference is that the entire fee goes to the ongoing construction costs. The American government offered to foot some of the bill for construction, but the native Americans that own the land told them to shove it up their asses. After all, they wouldn't have had to build the damned monument in the first place if it wasn't for the American government.

I was able to capture Mt. Rushmore on film with my trusty 600mm lens, but the Crazy Horse monument I gladly paid to see.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:21 PM on June 22, 2003

CD, the parking fees and restrictions are probably more about controlling crowds than making money. (I'm not sure where you're going with this "circumventing the law" business. The entire fee structure is part of the notoriously underfunded National Parks Service.) One recalls the difficult fights over parking expansion in Grand Canyon N.P.: this pointedly isn't a business, so you can't just willy-nilly build as many parking lots as people will come, since that would destroy the natural beauty people come to see (in this case, an unnatural feature in a natural setting).

Also, the Crazy Horse land was initially federal land, which was later acquired by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation in a land swap. The refusal to take government funding was more Korczak's decision based on the troubles Borglum had with Rushmore. Though work has progressed slowly, clearly the decision to create an enduring foundation was a wise fiduciary choice that will see the monument through, even if it too has had its lean years. So on both these counts, I would say you're overinterpreting.

Another cool thing the foundation is doing is an annual Volksmarch, the only event during the year when the public is permitted on the mountain.
posted by dhartung at 9:10 PM on June 22, 2003

Damn, dhartung, I guess I should get off my high horse, huh? (couldn't resist)

Thanks for the additional information.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:34 PM on June 22, 2003

I'd be more impressed if they carved it out of multi-colored cheese. And yeah, Mt. Rushmore is a ridiculous eyesore.
posted by HTuttle at 11:30 PM on June 22, 2003

hey wasn't that where Rocky Raccoon lived?
posted by condour75 at 11:47 PM on June 22, 2003

that's just as absurd as mt. rushmore

I don't know a lot about native americans, but I was under the impression that one of the things contemporary native americans took pride in was their ancestor's connection with their natural surroundings.

So it strikes me as kind of odd to commemorate the life of Crazy Horse by, er, blowing up the side of a mountain.

Does anyone know if there have been any protests about this, or is everyone happy with the scheme?
posted by backOfYourMind at 3:17 AM on June 23, 2003

posted by Shike at 4:46 AM on June 23, 2003


I was out there back in 1982, I think. I was ten.

He has a definite face now, but nothing else has changed.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:39 AM on June 23, 2003

Yeah, I was there in the late 70s, and I was surprised in looking at the latest photos how little this has progressed. I understand the original guy died and all, but come on, he's had since 1948 to get this done. At the rate it's going, it looks like it should be finished by... what? the 22nd century?
posted by soyjoy at 8:13 AM on June 23, 2003

I've always hated the Crazyhorse sculpture. Mt Rushmore isn't NEAR as big as Ccrazyhorse. I was there in 1992 and was dissappointed at what I saw at the site. The fact that they won't take any federal funds to help complete the project doesnt help my opinion of the mess they've made.

At 563 feet high, it towers over the 60 busts of Mt Rushmore. I didn't think I'd like Rushmore either, but they aren't as aggressive at all. I've always love this image of Rushmore.

I don't think Crazyhorse will ever be finished and I am skeptical about some of the cuts they've already made (under the arm).
posted by tomplus2 at 1:45 PM on June 23, 2003

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