The Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a marvel to behold. Despite construction having begun in 1948, the cliffside tribute to the Lakota chief has yet to be completed. Its development certainly makes for a riveting story, but is all the more remarkable for the man it aims to honor.
When completed, the sculpture will depict the Native American warrior on his horse and pointing to his tribal land below—which the Oglala sub-tribe he led considered sacred. His head is currently the only finished part of the sculpture. At 87 feet high, it exceeds that of each U.S. President’s head at Mount Rushmore by 27 feet.
That purposeful scale speaks volumes, as Crazy Horse honorably led his tribe in historic battles across the 1800s and defended his people against the brutal encroachment of the U.S. government to the very end. Viciously bayoneted to death for resisting imprisonment, he left the Lakota determined to honor him in stone.