The scenery kept changing every mile we drove. From craggy rocks to alpine tundra to sweeping meadows to alpine lakes, my breath couldn't catch up to my eyes. As Tony Bennett sang, "I left my heart"......in South Dakota. Wait, he didn't sing that, but I think I will when we leave here. This state has called my heart in a way I've not felt since I left Germany.
"Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-2982) was born in Boston and endured a difficult upbringing. He became a self-taught and renowned sculptor, gaining recognition at the 1939 World's Fair, which attracted the attention of Chief Standing Bear who invited Korczak to the Black Hills to carve Crazy Horse. Korczak accepted and his family has continued his dream even today."
"The Native Americans chose Lakota Leader, Crazy Horse, as the subject for the project. Korczak wrote "Crazy Horse has never been known to have signed a treaty or touched a pen. Crazy Horse, as far as the scale model is concerned, is to be carved not so much as a lineal likeness, but more as a memorial to the the spirit of Crazy Horse - to his people. With his left hand gesturing forward in answer to the derisive question asked by a white man, 'where are your lands now?' He replied, 'My lands are where my dead lie buried.'"
Crazy Horse Memorial continues to be sustained through admissions and donations. It is not federally or state funded.
The exhibits were amazing. They were not only dedicated to Crazy Horse and his Lakota peoples, but to all Indian Nations. Each nation has their own unique style and ways of living and we were able to see that today under one roof. The art, clothing, toys and other artifacts were simply astounding. The use of colors in a natural manner was a sight to see.
As we pushed through the entire exhibit and the ever-important gift shop, we headed out to hear a Lakota woman talk about her people while her daughter sang and danced. Just at that time, we had a huge thunderstorm roll through and had to miss it. But it was truly an experience we'll never forget.
So, what's ahead? We still have about a week left on our state park pass, so we'll continue to make use of it. Next week we'll try something totally new - tent camping. South Dakota has really left us wanting to be able to spend more time in a natural setting, which can be hard to do in a 43 foot motorhome. Most state and national parks don't have the space to fit us, so we can't stay in the parks - we have to go to a commercial campground. But we really want to experience the natural beauty all around us, so we came up with the bright idea of getting a smallish tent and tent camp for a couple of nights. That will happen next week. I'm sure that blog post will be entertaining!
We also still want to go to Spearfish and Deadwood, as well as the Grand Finale of Mt. Rushmore. I would also like to see the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, if we have time and Dave, of course, wants to do more fishing. We'll figure out what we'll do later.
I'll apologize in advance for the staggering number of photos attached to this blog post, but I truly couldn't pare them down.