Monday, May 28, 2018

Crazy Horse Memorial

Happy Memorial Day!  I don't know how it happens but the blog gets caught up and in a matter of hours, I'm already behind again...that's where I am today.  We've been to so many places this weekend, I'm going to have to spend the majority of the day tomorrow playing catch up.  But, for tonight, I'll write about our adventure yesterday to the Crazy Horse Memorial just outside Custer, South Dakota.
Crazy Horse Memorial is NOT part of the National Parks System, however I feel that it really should be and showcase the importance of the Native American Indian in America.  Crazy Horse is located right in the center of the Black Hills of South Dakota and the mountain that it is being carved out of is 6,532 feet - the 27th highest mountain in South Dakota.  Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear chose the site for this wonderful granite sculpture in the making.  The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is at the heart of the project and the goal is to preserve and protect the culture, tradition and heritage of all North American Indians.  When completed, Crazy Horse will be the largest sculptural carving in the entire world.
Because this is Memorial Weekend, Crazy Horse honors this holiday by allowing free admittance to the park the entire weekend.  There are also a few other holidays where admittance is free (the only catch is that you bring 3 canned good food items to donate to KOTA Care & Share Food Drive).  Usually, the admittance fee is as follows:

$30 per car - more than 2 people
$24 per car - 2 people
$12 - 1 person
$7 - Motorcycle or Bicycle
Free - Children 6 years and under

Waived Admission to all Storytellers (see below) who present their card.

Free admission always to Native Americans, Active Military, Custer County Residents, Boy/Girl Scouts in Class A or B uniform, pre-approved certificates or passes for special events, Children un 6 years and Black Hill & Badlands VIP Card holders.

Crazy Horse is RV and Bus friendly so you can bring the whole gang when you come and they are also handicap accessible.  But, they don't stop there.  You can also bring you leashed dog on the property!  If they are inside, only service dogs are allowed, however you can pick up and hold your pet inside.  Also, they can be outside on leash - just not in any buildings.  Remember to bring some poop bags to clean up after your pooch.
Crazy Horse Memorial isn't just a blasting zone.  They have thoroughly thought of every aspect to inform and instruct you in a pleasant way about the life of the American Indian by movie, exhibits and the largest store of original items for sale.  As you can see by this Crazy Horse Map, there is something of interest to everyone!
The Visitors Center when you first come through the doors is packed with historical items ranging from clothing, photos, beading, dolls, guns, bronze, and much more!  There is also a huge information desk with multiple people to answer all your questions.  Here's a very small sampling of what you'll see inside!
Being a genealogist, I really LOVED seeing Crazy Horse's pedigree chart!!
And, not only that, they also have an exhibit on Korczac, the man who had the vision of the memorial as well as an ongoing and constant Native American artisan exhibition hall called the Native American Educational and Cultural Center where you can watch artisans at work and purchase their items.  And, it doesn't stop there!  The gentleman in the yellow shirt way in the back to the right of the flags, sat and talked with me in great length on how to bead.  He was very friendly and knowledgeable and I was grateful for his willingness to educate me.
After Wounded Knee in 1890, two infants were found alive near their mothers
This little boy was adopted by General Colby.
Another female child was adopted by Mrs. Allison Mailer, a wealthy New York lady.
They have have a fabulous bison exhibit in the basement of the artisan hall.  Plus, while many national parks and memorial prohibit you from taking rock, there is a rock bin for you to take as many rocks as you want (it would be great to leave a small donation for the rock to help the progress of the memorial).  Scott and I took the quiz they had and we got just about every one correct.  Had we read the questions slower we probably would have had them all right.  I'm such a bison fanatic, I'm shocked I missed one.
Do you get hungry?  There's also a restaurant and cafe of snacks just for you outside where the observation area is.  When we were there, we were fortunate to watch dancing by two talented hoop dancers!
Here is a video of one of the dances:
There's always something happening at Crazy Horse.  Be sure to check out the monthly activities here.  And, there are also night laser light shows (May 25- Oct 30) and night blasts for your nighttime pleasure.  You'll want to remember that Crazy Horse is an on-going event so you may see workmen hanging around doing their thing.  Native Americans Day is Oct 8th this year also.
Web Photo
Now, I mentioned the gift shop at Crazy Horse, but it really something special.  Here's a link on their website.  We actually stopped and watched a man named Randy Price, craving with a little saw, the inside of US minted coins to make the most spectacular jewelry!  We bought our Granddaughter a friendship necklace and I bought Buffalo Nickel earrings with a matching necklace.  I'll be sending Randy a 1898 Silver Dollar to have him cut out for me this fall after the summer rush is over.  He was an amazing artisan!
The jewelry I bought...of course, bison is my theme!!
Here is a video of Randy at work finishing up a carving.  This is a MUST WATCH VIDEO.  You'll be amazed as we were!
Finally, I love Native American Beading - I've always been attracted to it and they had a nice exhibit on display of some of the 70 TONS of beads acquired by the owner of Prairie Edge in Rapid City (where I'll be getting some beads this week)!  Beautiful art work and information.
This article is about these beads (right and below) that the Indians traded for worth $24
so the Dutch could purchase Long Island back in the 1626!  WOW!
And, lastly a few more photos of some other artifacts at the center.  There's just SO MUCH to see.  It's quite the place!
Dying Chart
Crazy Horse's Chief Headdress
Also to note, you can take a van ride a mile away to under the blasting zone to get a closer look of Crazy Horse.  Van shuttles cost $4 per person and run every 30 minutes.  If you really want an up close and person look, by donating $125 to the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, you become a Crazy Horse Story Teller and are entitled to go up on top of crazy horse and view everything really close!  Please note that these special van ride are only available Monday - Friday in the late afternoon and all day on Saturday and Sunday when the workers aren't up there and weather permitting.

If you ask, when you leave and think you want to return, the Information Desk will give you a pass to return at any time within three business days for re-entry.

I hope you come and visit some time.  We were here 6 years ago and I think this is going to last my lifetime before it's completed but I could see some's just slow and steady.  Right now they are working on Crazy Horse's Hand and Horse's Mane and you can see that taking shape.  By the way, be a follower on the blog (click top right above) and make a comment below to answer the question - What Crazy Horse's mother's name? and you will be eligible to win a prize...


  1. Rattling Blanket Woman or Tȟašína Ȟlaȟlá Wiŋ was the mother of Crazy Horse