Crazy Horse, a principal war chief of the Lakota Sioux, was born in 1842 near the present-day city of Rapid City, SD. Called “Curly” as a child, he was the son of an Oglala medicine man and his Brule wife, the sister of Spotted Tail.
Crazy Horse or Tasunke Witco was born as a member of the Oglala Lakota on Rapid Creek about 40 miles northeast of Thunderhead Mt. (now Crazy Horse Mountain) in c. 1840. It was a time when cultures clashed, and land became an issue of deadly contention and traditional Native ways were threatened and oppressed.
Crazy Horse, Sioux name Ta-sunko-witko, (born 1842?, near present-day Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.—died September 5, 1877, Fort Robinson, Nebraska), a chief of the Oglala band of Lakota (Teton or Western Sioux) who was an able tactician and a determined warrior in the Sioux resistance to European Americans’ invasion
Oglala Sioux leader Crazy Horse is fatally bayoneted by a U.S. soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. He was sent to Fort Robinson, where he was killed in a scuffle with soldiers who were trying to imprison him in a cell.
Henry Standing Bear (“Mato Naji”), an Oglala Lakota chief, and well-known statesman and elder in the Native American community, recruited and commissioned Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to build the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Who Was Crazy Horse? Crazy Horse was an Oglala Sioux Indian chief who fought against removal to a reservation in the Black Hills. In 1876, he joined with Cheyenne forces in a surprise attack against Gen. George Crook; then united with Chief Sitting Bull for the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
The Crazy Horse Memorial is far larger than Mt. Rushmore, yet at the insistence of the sculptor, no government money has been spent on it. The sculptor has been dead for nearly 25 years, and the project is still far from completion.
Because Crazy Horse has no direct descendants, the Clown family is related by blood through his half-sister, Iron Cedar, who passed on their life history, including the attack on Lt. Col. Fetterman; the Wounded Knee massacre; the battles of Rosebud and Little Big Horn; and the murder of Crazy Horse at Fort Robinson.
Crazy Horse Death Returning to camp the next day, Crazy Horse requested to talk to military leaders, but was led to a cell instead. Realizing the betrayal, Crazy Horse struggled. An old friend, Little Big Man, worked for the Army as a policeman and attempted to restrain Crazy Horse, who pulled a concealed knife on him.
The Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota has been under construction since 1948. Although it’s open as a site for tourists to visit and it does feature a completed, 87-foot-tall head of Crazy Horse, it’s far from finished.
In the 1950s and 1960s, local Lakota Sioux elder Benjamin Black Elk (son of medicine man Black Elk, who had been present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn) was known as the “Fifth Face of Mount Rushmore”, posing for photographs with thousands of tourists daily in his native attire.
The actual carving was done by a team of over 400 men. 20. Remarkably, no one died during construction.
Polish American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski designed the sculpture, thinking it would take 30 years to build. It’s now been 71 years, and it’s not nearly finished. The finished version will be 563 feet high and 641 feet long and show a Native American warrior with long hair sitting on horseback.