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Crazy Horse Memorial

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)


Began in 1948, the Crazy Horse Memorial is a planned sculpture and monument to the Lakota warrior Crazy Horse. The memorial complex consists of the monument of Crazy Horse (still under construction), the Indian Museum of North America, and the Native American Cultural Center. Crazy Horses face was completed in 1998. If and when the rest of the monument is completed, the sculpture will be 641 feet wide and 563 feet high. The project is funded by donations and revenue from the visitor's center. Tours to the museum begin with a historic presentation about the memorial titled Dynamite & Dreams.

This photo shows a model of the sculpture in the foreground and the current state of the massive monument in the background.
The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History-Click the link below for more information about this book
The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America-Click the link below for more information about this book


Crazy Horse was born around 1840 and was a leader of the Oglala Lakota tribe of present-day South Dakota. After seeing the death of the Lakota leader Conquering Bear, Crazy Horse began to have trances so his father took him on a vision quest. Crazy Horse received a black stone from a medicine man named Horn Chips to protect his horse which made him believe that he and his horse were one in battle. 

Through the late 1850s to the early 1860s Crazy Horse's reputation as a warrior grew through the Lakota tribe. In 1864, he joined with other tribes to fight the US military following the Sand Creek Massacre. In 1865, he earned the title Ogle Tanka Un which meant war leader. On December 21, 1866, Crazy Horse and six other warriors, both Lakota and Cheyenne, decoyed Capt. William Fetterman's 53 infantrymen and 27 cavalry troopers under Lt. Grummond into an ambush. The Lakota warriors swept over the hill and attacked the infantry. Additional Cheyenne and Lakota hiding in the buckbrush along Peno Creek effectively surrounded the soldiers. Seeing that they were surrounded, Grummond headed his cavalry back to Fetterman. The combined warrior forces of nearly 1,000 killed all the US soldiers, in what became known at the time to the white population as the Fetterman Massacre. It was the Army's worst defeat on the Great Plains up to that time. 

On the morning of September 5, 1877, Crazy Horse and Lieutenant Lee, accompanied by Touch the Clouds as well as a number of Indian scouts, departed for Fort Robinson. Arriving that evening outside the adjutant's office, Lieutenant Lee was informed that he was to turn Crazy Horse over to the Officer of the Day. Lee protested and hurried to Bradley's quarters to debate the issue, but without success. Bradley had received orders that Crazy Horse was to be arrested and taken under the cover of darkness to Division Headquarters. Lee turned the Oglala war chief over to Captain James Kennington, in charge of the post guard, who accompanied Crazy Horse to the post guardhouse. Once inside, Crazy Horse struggled with the guard and Little Big Man and attempted to escape. Just outside the door, Crazy Horse was stabbed with a bayonet by one of the members of the guard. He was taken to the adjutant's office, where he was tended by the assistant post surgeon at the post, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, and died late that night.

12151 Avenue of the Chiefs
Crazy Horse, SD 57730
Phone Number
(605) 673-4681
The museums and grounds are open daily from 8AM to 8PM although seasonal hours vary. Check the link below for hours.
  • Military History
  • Native American History
  • Political and Diplomatic History
This location was created on 2013-12-09 by Kyle Solar .   It was last updated on 2014-07-21 by Michael Tanner .

This entry has been viewed 1660 times within the past year


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