The history of Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore were two separate occurrences that took place in two different distinct periods in the history of the United States. Crazy Horse part of the Lakota Sioux who was known for his battle skills as well as his efforts, which he applied to preserve the traditions of the Native Americans and their way of life. He fought alongside Sitting Bull and other wars that were involved within the native indian tribes, he was very instrumental in the defeat of George Armstrong. In 1877, after surrendering to federal troops, his life was cut short amid speculations that he have had planned to escape. After his sudden death, Crazy Horse became a mythical figure of the Great Plains Indian wars, and this earned him an honorary sculpture in his image.
In 1884, Charles Rushmore, a New York based lawyer, traveled to the Black Hills to inspect the region for unrelated purposes and it is during his visit that he named the nearby mountain “Mount Rushmore” after realizing that the mountain had no name. There was need of making it a tourist destination. For this reason, historian Doane Robinson wanted to sculpt the giant granite pillars into the shape of former presidents of the United States because he wanted to show appreciation to the president’s. His father was a medicine man from Ogallala sub tribe while his mother was a Brule (Sanford, 99).
There was a lot of speculation concerning his name, but later the majority of the historians agreed that his father had the similar name too. While still in his younger days, his name was Curly though this changed to Crazy Horse after proving himself in combat. Frontier photographers discredited the various photos of him, which were previously taken, since he was out of reach. On July 25th 1865, he had encountered United States soldiers near old Oregon at Platte Bridge where he acted as a decoy with the aim of drawing soldiers out of their defenses. In the subsequent year, during the period when soldiers were marching up the Bozeman Trail to build forts, Crazy Horse honed his acquired skills as a fighter thereby learning ways of his military adversaries. William Fetterman and eighty men were ambushed which would later be called the Fetterman massacre (McMurtry, 234). After a decade, Crazy Horse joined Sitting Bull in a hard fight to defend the Black Hills and resist reservation control. In 1876 when the United States Army mounted a three-pronged military operation with the aim of driving the free Plains Indians onto reservations, it was Crazy Horse who confronted them and fought hard ending up winning.
After the 1876 battle, Crazy Horse and the group rode over the Little Bighorn joining Sitting Bull’s large encampment of Sioux and Cheyenne. Later on, General George A. Custer attacked Horse’s camp which made Crazy Horse to lead his warriors in a attack. This defeat was never taken lightly by the military forces who went ahead to pursue the native indians, driving most of them into Canada. Crazy Horse and some of his followers attempted to hide in remote areas of the Yellowstone country, but this did not stop the Military from hunting them. On May 6, 1877 he gave himself up after being lured with a promise of assignment to a reservation if he surrenders.
The events, which took place after he quit, were marked with deceptions, betrayals, and false rumors. Some portion of senior Indian leaders became jealous of him thereby spreading some rumors that he was planning an outbreak. This prompted his arrest on September 5th which he obliges. Later when he found out that he was to be locked on a guardhouse, he differed with his captors, and their misunderstandings led to him to his death as a result of the stabbing. An incomplete Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota near Berne Town has commemorated his memories. His monument was carved out of a mountainside just as the case with the Mount Rushmore monuments. Korczak Ziolkowski started the sculpture after being requested by the Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. Henry wanted Ziolkowski to make a monument for the North Americans to demonstrate how native Indians also had some famous heroes.
Most of the Native Americans consider seeing Thunderhead Mountain be sacred place hence was the choice for Horse monument. Though it has never been completed, once it will be, it is rumored that together with the sculptures of the former United States Presidents depicted in Mount Rushmore, they will be the most significant sculpture in the world. The building of Crazy Horse sculpture received money from private donations with no single assistance from the state of South Dakota or the Federal Government. The monument has also been the subject of controversies. In the vision of Korczak Ziolkowski who started the sculpture, the Crazy Horse sculpture was dedicated to all the Native Americans. Some of the Native Americans have opposed this monument with some seeing it as a pollution and desecration of the environment and landscape of the Black Hills.
Some also view it as being opposite to the ideals of Crazy Horse whom did not want it to be photographed during his lifetime and even in death was buried in an undisclosed location. Doane Robinson who was a historian, is one of the people who came up with the design of carving the likeness of the famous people into the Black Hills region with the intention of promoting tourism in the area. Though his initial plan was to sculpt the “Needles”, this idea was rejected by Gutzon Borglum who viewed it as poor quality and an avenue for opposition from the Native Americans. The rejection to sculpt the “Needles” prompted the two to settle for Mount Rushmore which had the merit of facing Southeast which had the strength of the sun needed (Eldridge 79). Though Robison wanted to feature heroes of America, Gutzon Borglum decides that the sculpture should have broader appeals hence he chose the four presidents of the United States namely President George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The finances of this project was purely placed on the federal government under Senator Peter Norbeck. The project started in the early twentieth century four presidents’ faces were already completed.
In 1941 when Gutzon Borglum died, his son Lincoln Borglum lead the construction. Initially, there were plans to depict each of the four presidents from head to waist, but there was not enough funding so the project ended by late October 1941. The process of making the four presidential heads into the face of Mount Rushmore involved using dynamite and pneumatic hammers which would thrust into a large number of rocks easily. Close to four hundred workers who were contracted removed around four hundred fifty thousand tons of rocks from Mount Rushmore which up to now remains in a heap near at the base of this mountain. As much as the work of making these sculptures was very dangerous, there were no lives which were reported to have been lost during the construction and completion of the carved heads. In 1991 the mountain celebrated its Jubilee anniversary after undergoing close to forty million dollars in restorations. As much as Mount Rushmore is seen to be very instrumental in the history of the United States, the majority of the Native Americans do not look at the monuments built on this mountain as worthy to them (Jango-Cohen 127). The Native Americans especially the Lakota people have the views that these statues were created on their land without their approval.
The Native Americans have a feeling of being neglected by the four presidents whose faces were put on Mount Rushmore. The Black Hills was viewed to be a very sacred place, which according to some of these natives was not supposed to be used as a tourist place where any other person can come and visit at any time. In most cases, they undertook some of their religious activities on this mountain. The Native Americans also have an issue with each of the presidents whose faces were built on this Mountain. They believed that most of these leaders engineered the massacre which targeted their people. (“Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.”) For instance, Indians thought that President Teddy Roosevelt engineered the war that led to the killing of thousands of Indians who did not want to surrender part of their land to other white settlers. During this war, there was no mercy at all even Indians who surrendered the portions of the area were killed as they were seen as adamants to the commands which were given by then, President Teddy Roosevelt.
President Abraham Lincoln on his part is accused of being behind the signing off of a horrible execution by hanging thirty eight Dakota warriors. This was the most significant mass hanging which had been witnessed in the history of the United States of America. President Thomas Jefferson is accused of signing off the Louisiana Purchase which led to stealing of acres of land from the majority of the Indian nationalists. This act led to various forms of sufferings which included death and poverty that even up to date is still being felt in the region. President Washington on his part ordered the military extermination of all the Native American people especially those who came from England.
This act led to deaths of many Native Americans who were marked for being uncooperative also many Native Americans were sexually abused, imprisoned, and assassinated. President Washington sold some of the Indians to slave trades business. Therefore when these Native Americans see the kind of monuments honoring American Presidents on their land, and the pledge of allegiance ends with “Liberty and justice for all.” Many Native Americans would view this inaction as injustice, and they have been feeling this betrayal to their government since the founding of this country. This betrayal is what prompted Native activist Russell Means to label Mount Rushmore as a Hypocrisy.
The Mount Rushmore Memorial is without a doubt a spectacular sight however it is missing the forgotten story of the American Indian Tribes, having no representation in North American history. “Mount Rushmore National Memorial.” (U.S. National Park Service) Race relations are still tense due to ignorance and lack of knowledge and understanding of the Native Indian tribes in North America. The United States Government must recognize Native American culture. In conclusion, there is a need of the subsequent government of the United States of America to have a positive recognition of the issues brought up by the Native Americans regarding the sculptures built in the land that they consider as theirs.
The federal government also needs to recognize the statue of Crazy Horse and make it as a way of acknowledging Crazy Horse as a hero among the American Indian families living in the United States of America.