News

    Crazy Horse Memorial Generates Mixed Feelings - 2003-09-13

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Hundreds of people, mostly non-Natives, attended a special night demolition to further shape the massive natural stone carving at South Dakota's Crazy Horse Mountain Saturday, September 6. The event commemorated the anniversary of the Lakota Indian leader's 1877 death and the birthday of the late sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, who began work on Crazy Horse Mountain in 1948. The completion of the Mount Rushmore Memorial to four U.S. presidents nearly a decade earlier prompted a Lakota elder to commission an image that would "show the white man that the red man has heroes, too." But, after 55 years of blasting, and with no end to the project in sight, Native Americans have mixed feelings toward the massive carving and the huge sums of money the Ziolkowski family earns from it every year.

    When Crazy Horse was killed by another Lakota at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, on September 6, 1877, his legend lived on. For generations, his name has been a symbol to Lakota people of pride, courage and strength. Recognizing the power of Crazy Horse as a cultural icon, Lakota elder Henry Standing Bear asked Korzcak Ziolkowski to carve a likeness of the slain warrior in the sacred Lakota Black Hills. It was a likeness based on oral history, because Crazy Horse always refused to be photographed.

    Korczak Ziolkowski died in 1982, 16 years before the face of the carving was completed. Millions of people have visited the 171-meter memorial, which has generated controversy within the Native community.

    "I work here and I enjoy working here, and I think what is going on here makes me proud," said Clayton Quiver, who is a Lakota.

    For some Native Americans, like Clayton Quiver, the Crazy Horse Memorial is not only a place for employment, but a place he says helps to balance hundreds of years of racism against his people.

    Seth Big Crow feels less positive about the huge carving. His great-grandmother was Crazy Horse's aunt. Mr. Big Crow says he's resigned to the existence of the carving and rationalized that, in future years, it may be the American equivalent to the Easter Island monoliths.

    "Maybe 300 or 400 years from now, everything will be gone, we'll all be gone, and they'll be the four faces in the Black Hills and the statue there symbolizing the Native Americans who were here at one time," said Seth Big Crow.

    But Seth Big Crow is concerned about the amount of money being generated by his ancestor's name. Since Henry Standing Bear requested the mountain carving, the Ziolkowskis have built a complex of visitor centers and souvenir shops earning the family millions of dollars annually. Mr. Big Crow wonders if Henry Standing Bear's request was limited to a mountain carving alone.

    "Or did it give them free hand to try to take over the name and make money off it as long as they're alive and we're alive? When you start making money rather than to try to complete the project, that's when, to me, it's going off in the wrong direction," he said.

    The complex is listed as part of Korczak Ziolkowski's "expanded plan" for the site and, as noted on the memorial's brochure, "Crazy Horse cannot be experienced by driving past on the highway." The sculptor's widow, Ruth, and seven of his children work at the Memorial. Daughter Anne Ziolkowski's view on the controversy that the memorial has caused in Indian Country is blunt.

    "Well, you're not gonna' please everybody," said Ann Ziolkowski. "I don't care what you do, you're not gonna' please everybody. If we offend people, we're very sorry. But we're doing what we were asked to do."

    The problem, according to Crazy Horse descendant Elaine Quiver, is that Henry Standing Bear had no right to petition Korczak Ziolkowski to create the mountain carving in the first place. She says Lakota culture dictates consensus from family members on such a decision. Ms. Quiver adds that no one bothered to ask the descendants of Crazy Horse if they approved of the project before the first sticks of dynamite were blown on land sacred to the Lakota on June 3, 1948.

    "They don't respect our culture because we didn't give permission for someone to carve the sacred Black Hills where our burial grounds are," said Elaine Quiver. "They were there for us to enjoy and they were there for us to pray. But it wasn't meant to be carved into images, which is very wrong for all of us. The more I think about it, the more it's a desecration of our Indian culture. Not just Crazy Horse, but all of us."

    The Ziolkowskis have donated $500,000 to Native American students, an act Anna Ziolkowski says is part of her family's show of respect for the culture. But Elaine Quiver and Seth Big Crow both question what's become of the other millions of dollars collected at the Crazy Horse Memorial over the past 55 years. Mr. Big Crow says he's keeping an eye on the Memorial and, as for the money.

    "One day when we go in front of the maker of all human beings, we're going to have to explain our actions as to why, and money cannot be part of the explanation, because I don't believe it'll be recognized," she said.

    Photos courtesy - Crazy Horse Memorial

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora