South Dakota’s Best Monument is Not Mount Rushmore

When most people think of South Dakota, they think of Mount Rushmore. It’s not a representation of the state, but also the entire country. However, did you know that South Dakota is home to another monument carved into a rock?  

Located just 17 miles from Mount Rushmore, is the Crazy Horse Memorial, a mountain monument currently under construction to honor the great Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse. While Mount Rushmore has more of the fame, the Crazy Horse Memorial may have a great story.  

The Crazy Horse Memorial — commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota leader — is a life-long ambition for the great sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski. The dream for Crazy Horse was to be more than just a monument carved into a mountain, and its original plans also include an Indian Museum of North America and a Native American Cultural Center.  

The mountain memorial was to depict Crazy Horse, carved into Thunderhead Mountain on the Oglala Lakota’s sacred the ground. The sculpture includes Crazy Horse on a horse and is planned to be 641 feet long and 563 feet long. While the heads of each president on Mount Rushmore are 60 feet high, Crazy Horse’s head is expected to be 87 feet high. When finished, the monument will be the world’s second tallest sculpture.  

Construction on the monument began in 1948, and today is still very much a work in progress, likely still decades away from completion. While Ziolkowski passed away in 1982, his family has taken over the project. His wife, Ruth, became CEO and was committed to continuing the project and attracting more visitors to the monument. Monique Ziolkowski, Korczak and Ruth;s daughter and a sculptor, took over the project when her mother passed away in 2014, and continues running it with additional family members.  

The memorial is a non-profit and is sustained on private donations, visitor feeds, and commissions from the gift shop. 

In additional to the mountain monument, the Ziolkowski family was passionate about preserving the history and tradition of the Lakota and offering support and resources for Native American residents across the region. A satellite campus of the University of South Dakota, called the Indian University of North America, houses a classroom building and residence hall. The school offers classes in math, English, and American Indian studies courses for college credit. Additional donations have paid for scholarships for Native American Students, most of whom are South Dakota residents. 

Crazy Horse is not a monument to be read about. Even partially finished, it is breathtaking and moving. You will need to come see it for yourself!

Enriching lives with music

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Nietzsche.  

We couldn’t agree more.  

We use music to celebrate life as well as to work through heartbreak. Music is the calling of our souls, no matter how play or sing it.  

Some of us our lucky enough to learn music at a young age, whether it be through a church choir or trumpet in the elementary school band. But music is obtainable to all of us, no matter the age.  

The Black Hills Cultural Center is hoping to start offering both singing and instrumental lessons to children and adults in the area. Our goal is to give everyone the gift of music, and maybe even create a band of our own. While it may seem intimidating, music is for everyone. It’s even possible to learn the piano in 21 days! In just a few weeks, you will be playing your favorite tunes for friends and family.  

So, watch out for news about our upcoming classes so that you can share your musical gift!

Join us for our annual Powwow

Each year, our cultural center partners with a local Oglala Lakota tribe to put on a powwow. These traditional dances feature colorful dress, beating drums, and inspiring singing and bring the entire community together.  

Powwows can last several days, and ours is usually three days through August. Friends and family meet on a nearby Native American reservation and camp throughout the celebration. They come together to visit and reconnect with one another and their ancestors.  

The Powwow will feature competitions in traditional, fancy, and jingle-dress dancing. There will be local vendors serving traditional dishes, such as Indian tacos, fry bread, and wojapi, a fruit sauce/jam. There will also be education sessions for visitors to learn more about the purpose and tradition of the powwow as well as the Oglala Lakota people.  

At certain points throughout the celebration, spectators will be invited to join, but we ask that attendees remain in the audience area and follow the proper etiquette as to be respectful to the tribes.  

This is our favorite event of the year, and we hope to see you there!

Image result for pow wow Oglala Lakota

Why your next vacation should be to the Black Hills?

When most start to plan their vacations, they think about San Francisco or New York, but we think your next summer vacation to be to the Black Hills! 

Why the Black Hills? Well, first off, it’s affordable. Our modestly priced hotels and cabins will be roomy and comfortable for your whole family without the price tag of something similar, or smaller, than in a city. If you are coming from a coast, pack the family in the car and make it a cross-country road trip that your kids will talk about for decades to come.  

Come see some of our country’s greatest attractions, from Mount Rushmore to Keystone. Ever see those Wall Drug billboards advertising 5 cent coffee? Well, come taste it for yourself. We’ve also got great hiking and driving trails that will get your family away from the screens and into nature.  

In South Dakota, you will learn about the rich history and traditions of several Native American tribes local to the area. Also, learn more about Lewis and Clark’s great expedition to the west and why they loved the Dakotas.  

The best part about South Dakota and the Black Hills is the people. Come say hi to some of our locals and learn why many who grew up here would never think of going anywhere else.  

So, next summer, make the Black Hills your destination for relaxation, fun, and adventure. 

Try Your Hand at Pottery

The Black Hills Cultural Center is excited to announce a new set of pottery classes for residents of the area. It may even help with your stress

You can experience our pottery classes in two different ways: as individual class or a series.  

Individual classes allow students to sit down with an instructor and learn how to make one item, whether it be a bowl, cup, or platter. Students new to pottery making should start with the beginning class that goes over the basics of pottery and get more comfortable with the materials and equipment. We also offer more advance classes for students to build their skills at their own pace.  

If you are ready to dive into pottery, sign up for our Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced series. These consist of six sessions throughout six weeks that helps you develop and refine your skills. We cap the number of students in these classes so that you can get catered, one-on-one time with the instructor.  

Unsure if you are ready to commit? For just $35 dollars, you can try our tester class! This gives you a taste for half of the price.  

Stop into our center today to learn more.