Friday, September 20, 2013

The Crazy Horse Memorial

It’s been a while since I posted one of my vacation posts, but I still have pictures I would like to share. The afternoon of the day we saw Mount Rushmore, we drove to the nearby Chief Crazy Horse Memorial, which , like Mount Rushmore, is carved out of the granite of the South Dakota Black Hills. Unlike Mount Rushmore, the memorial is a private project, commissioned by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota tribe and some of his fellow chiefs as a response to the Mount Rushmore Memorial. “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, also”, Standing Bear wrote to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in commissioning him to begin the work. The monument is being continued by the Korczak family. At the present rate, I doubt the sculpture will be finished in my lifetime, but I find it powerfully evocative in its unfinished state. Just like Mount Rushmore, it gives the impression of the subject emerging from the hills, at once a hero and a force of nature.

The memorial as it is today

The memorial in background, model of what finished sculpture should look like in the foreground

A larger model of the sculpture

The memorial in background, model of what finished sculpture should look like in the foreground

Deadwood stage, in the museum area

While we were at the memorial, I bought my one souvenir of the trip from a sculptor at the American Indian Cultural Center: a horsehair pottery turtle. I arranged for it to be shipped home, and the sculptor gave me her mother’s contact information in case it arrived broken. After I got home, two weeks passed and no package. I called the mom’s number and got only an answering machine. Finally I managed to track down the sculptor’s Facebook page and send her a message saying my turtle hadn’t arrived and I was worried. She was thrilled to hear from me. Somehow she had sent it to the wrong address, it had been returned to her, and she didn’t know what to do next. I finally got the turtle, well wrapped and in perfect condition.

The shell is removable, so it can be used as a candy dish or to hold pins or other small items.

We also saw a Lakota historical interpreter in full costume, singing, dancing, and telling stories. During a question and answer period, he was asked if he got hot in his traditional clothing. He replied that he did, but that he found his Under Armor T-shirts very helpful in wicking away body heat.

Historical interpreter. The video below shows him leading the crowd in a snake dance.

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