Reasons for the incomplete Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Monument

Throughout time, monuments have been built all throughout the world to honour significant figures, locations, and events in our civilizations. These memorials might be in the shape of statues, sculptures, plaques, pillars, towers, or even entire structures. There are several memorials all throughout the world that honour different facets of the human story, including the Easter Island Moai, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Eiffel Tower.

There are many well-known monuments in the United States that honour important moments in the history of the nation. A few examples of iconic structures include Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty. What ought to be one of America’s most recognisable monuments, however, is not as well known, partly due to the fact that it isn’t finished. The Crazy Horse monument’s history spans more than 70 years, and it is still being debated whether or not the monument is a good idea for a number of reasons, including the weather, funding, and other factors (per Business Insider).

Crazy Horse: Who Was He?

Crazy Horse Monument

Native Americans and the U.S. government have had a difficult and frequently brutal relationship. Following the discovery of gold along the Bozeman Trail in the 19th century, numerous Native American tribes and the American troops engaged in combat (per History). Crazy Horse, the leader of the Sioux, fought alongside generals including General George Custer and General William Tecumseh Sherman.

At the Battle of Little Bighorn, one of the most important conflicts in American history, he and his fellow Sioux warriors defeated Custer. Crazy Horse was ultimately compelled to submit to American forces despite being a leader of his people and taking part in numerous notable fights. On September 6, 1887, he passed away while being held by the government after his surrender.

History states that due of Crazy Horse’s bravery, leadership, and tenacity of spirit, his people remembered and honoured him. However, a strategy to honour the valiant Sioux warrior was not developed for almost a century.

Construction on the Crazy Horse Monument is ongoing.

Reasons for the incomplete Crazy Horse Monument

Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear allegedly wrote to Polish-American architect Korczak Ziolkowski in 1939, according to All That’s Interesting. In order to let “the white man know that the red man has heroes too,” he requested him to erect a monument commemorating Crazy Horse’s contributions. Ziolkowski concurred and came up with the brilliant idea to carve an amazing depiction of Crazy Horse onto the side of a granite mountain in the South Dakota Black Hills (per Business Insider).

Ziolkowski anticipated that it would take roughly 30 years to finish what would eventually become the tallest monument in the world when building first began in 1948. It turns out that he drastically miscalculated the time required for this endeavour. Even after more than 70 years, the monument is still far from complete.

The completion of this masterwork has been delayed for a number of reasons. There are several obstacles to overcome when carving it out of a mountainside, such as needing the right tools and dealing with difficult weather conditions (per Business Insider). Additionally, money has always been a problem.

Others see it as a celebration of a Native American hero, but there is still some debate over whether this is the appropriate approach to memorialise Crazy Horse and the Native American community. Although the hand, arm, shoulder, hairline, and top of the horse’s head are expected to be finished within the next 15 years, there is still no set completion date for the monument.

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“If it weren’t for each and every one of 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
(1926 – 2014)

Thankyou for reading!

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