"Volksmarch 2001" Top 5 Page for this destination Custer by erikajj
Custer Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 103 photos
The 2001 Volksmarch was a fabulous opportunity to experience the Crazy Horse Monument on a personal level. The 10K walk was difficult at times, but the scenery was beautiful and the breeze cool.
The Volksmarch, usually held the first weekend in June, is the only time during the year that the public is allowed to hike up Crazy Horse Mountain.
There are more photos in the travelogue!
A bit of history:
In 1939, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was invited by Lakota chiefs, including Chief Henry Standing Bear, to carve a monument in the Black Hills honoring Native American leaders. Chief Crazy Horse was chosen for the sculpture because he embodied the spirit of his people, refusing to live on a reservation and fighting to keep his lands after many broken treaties. When asked where his lands are, Chief Crazy Horse replied that "My lands are where my dead lie buried."
The tribes could not pay the sculptor to do this work, so Ziolkowski put his own life savings into the endeavor and carved only when he has donations for supplies and dynamite. The actual dynamite blasts began in 1948. Ziolkowski dedicated the rest of his life to this dream; he died in he early 1980s and his wife and children now continue his work. Chief Crazy Horse's face is now complete and blasting has begun on his horse's head.
About the monument:
The sculpture will be completed in the round and it is enormous. Mt. Rushmore would fit into just Crazy Horse's forehead. The grounds have seen many changes just since we were there last; in 1996, we watched the movie from folding chairs with no air conditioning. The Visitor's Center now has twin theatres, an Information booth, and the museum all attached to a very nice gift shop. You can also buy crafts from the artists themselves as they make them in the cultural center and there is usually an author or two signing their books. Despite all of these changes, the monument has not become commercial or lost its "homegrown" feeling. You will truly feel that you are a part of this monument.
Admission fees seem higher than other places ($8.00 per adult or $19 per carload) but this money goes directly towards continuing the sculpture. For the price, you can watch the video on the making of the memorial and peruse the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and the sculptor's studio. If you go for the Volksmarch, admission prices are free and it is $2 per person to walk.
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