The Crazy Horse Memorial Monument

A visit by Gypsie-Ami Offenbacher-Ferris

Photograph © Gypsie-Ami Offenbacher-Ferris

Mount Rushmore stands in testament to the pioneering spirit of America and her bid and eventual win for freedom. It is an astounding achievement in human engineering and perseverance to be sure.

Yet, not far down the road stands a lone warrior, his sad gaze overlooking the Black Hills of South Dakota. Now changed for all eternity. No longer the pristine wilderness protecting and nurturing the Buffalo, the Bear, the Eagle and the Elk. A stone nose flared in revulsion, smoke billowing below from the many wildfires scarring the land. Car exhaust killing the beautiful pines and cottonwood’s. Ribbons of black tar mar the sides of every mountain, testament to the white man’s continued advance.

In those eyes of knowledge and foretelling, he looks across the Black Hill’s into a future lacking the Indigenous People’s who lived, thrived, loved and died on this fertile land. He sees the demise of Earth’s bounty, squandered, used and abused. No heed to replenishing what is taken. No care for the poverty and squalor left behind by greed, self-importance and self-delusion.

I gaze up into the face of this man who was never photographed. Who stood beside and with his people. A man who lost his life while negotiating for the safety of his tribe, to a coward who attacked from behind.

That his tenacity and spirit lives on is inspiring, moving and frustrating. For all his heroic works, his battles won and battles lost; his people still suffer in poverty and neglect.

The current estimate for this largest of all mountain carvings to be completed is hundreds of years in the future. If someone doesn’t renege on the contract, misplace Indian funds or simply take back what was never theirs to give away at all; the Crazy Horse monument will persevere, perhaps to a time when the Buffalo multiply and the Wolf runs free again.

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