Why the Crazy Horse Monument Remains Unfinished


In 1948, work began on a sculpture in South Dakota to honor Native American warrior Crazy Horse, who is famous for being one of the leaders in a victory against General Custer and the U.S. Army at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski designed the sculpture, thinking it would take 30 years to build, but it’s been 71 years now and it’s not even close to being finished. The finished version will be 563 feet high and 641 feet long and will show a Native American warrior with long hair sitting on horseback. Some people are concerned that the memorial is now as much about the Ziolkowski family as it is about honoring Crazy Horse. That's because when Ziolkowski passed away in, his family took over the project, and while very little work has been done since, the family continues to rake in millions each year from tourist admission fees. Those who object to the monument point out that the whole monument is a fraud because Crazy Horse was a man of deep humility and never allowed his photo to be taken. That means the likeness of the monument is Ziolkowski’s idea of what Crazy Horse looked like. The other issue opponents have is that a non-Native American family is profiting from a history that isn't theirs. Still, amidst all the controversy, those in charge of building the monument say the statue will be finished within the next 15 years.

Depiction of what the finished statue will look like