Crazy Horse Memorial Night Blasts
Crazy Horse Memorial organizes a number of events to commemorate the history of American Indians. One of the popular events held each year is the night blasts that spectacularly light up the Crazy Horse Memorial with incredible pyro-techniques and fireballs.
The two nights blasts commemorate the death of local Indian American war chief Crazy Horse and the late sculptor of Crazy Horse Korczak Ziolkowski.
About the Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial is a large mountain carving in progress located in Black Hills of South Dakota in the United States. Located 26 miles to the south west of Rapid City, Hill city can serve as the perfect hub of your Black Hills adventure.
A Polish American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began working on the monument in 1948. The monument celebrates the achievements of Crazy Horse who was the leader of the Oglala Lakota tribe in South Dakota.
Korczak Ziolkowski was born to a Polish family in Boston in 1908. The idea of building the monument came after a Sioux tribal elder Chief Henry Standing Bear had supposedly stated to him that “I would like the white man know that the red man has great heroes, too.”
The Black Hills located in South Dakota are sacred grounds for the local Sioux Indians. They see the place as the center of the world. The entire hill will be transformed into a mountain statute of the famous Indian warrior Crazy Horse.
The 170 meters high structure will depict Crazy Horse riding his steed and pointing his hand forward. Once completed, the memorial monument will overtake Mount Rushmore to become the largest mountain carving in the world. The monument is so big that all heads of all four Presidents of Mount Rushmore will fit inside Crazy Horse’s head.
Details of the Night Blasts
First Day – June 26th, 2019
The first night blast is held on June 26th every year. The event commemorates the achievements of American Indians and is held in memory of the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn — a historic battle took place in June 1876 between the armies of Crazy Horse and Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.
Background of the Battle of Little Bighorn
Tensions increased between the Native American tribes after the discovery of gold in Dakota in 1874. Gold prospectors ignored treaty rights with Sioux tribes and swarmed into their territory.
Crazy Horse’s Lakota tribe were forced on to reservations after the discovery of gold. But Crazy Horse along with Chief Sitting Bull had refused. The two men led about 1,200 warriors against the US Army. They successfully repelled an attack by General George Crook on their encampment on June 17th, 1876.
Crazy Horse and his men then moved towards the banks of the Little Bighorn River. He united with Chief Sitting Bull and annihilated the US Army led by Lt. Colonel George A. Custer on June 25th.
The battle was fought near the Little Bighorn River situated in Montana Territory. As a result, it was called the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
After the end of the battle, Crazy Horse and his group of warriors returned to the Hill countryside to resume their lives. However, the US Army pursued him in a campaign to finish the resistance once and for all.
Crazy Horse was forced to surrender since his tribe was weakened by hunger and cold. At last, he surrendered at the Red Cloud Agency on May 6, 1877.
While being led to the prison, Crazy Horse resisted and was killed in a scuffle with the guardhouse. Native Americans remember courageous actions of Crazy Horse, who was the Chief of the Oglala bank of Lakota, with laudatory words.
Little Bighorn is regarded as the peak of the Native Indians’ power. They had united and achieved their greatest victory till then against the US Army. However, the tenuous union had fallen apart due to the subsequent onslaught. Crazy Horse’s last stand was their last stand as well. They were completely subdued after his death and their nation was defeated once and for all.
Death Anniversary of Mrs. Ruth Ziolkowski
Apart from the Battle of Little Big Horn, the day also commemorates the death anniversary of Mrs. Ruth Ziolkowski who was the wife of the sculptor and had assisted him in building the memorial as well as the Indian Museum of North America.
Ruth Ziolkowski died at the age of 87 in 2014, and she spent most of her life assisting the Polish-American sculptor in achieving his dream. She first met her husband as a volunteer for the construction of the sculpture. After the death of her husband in 1982, Ruth took over the ownership of the Crazy Horse Memorial and worked towards transforming the sculpture in the Black Hills into a colossal figure.
Under her directions, Crazy Horse Memorial has achieved a lot of targets. Today, over a million people each year visit the monument under construction.
Second Day – September 26th, 2019
The second night blast is held on September 6th at the memorial. The event is held to honor the death anniversary of Crazy Horse who died on this day in 1877. In addition, the event also commemorates the birth of the sculptor Ziolkowski in 1908.
The public can visit the night blasts for a small fee. Instead of an admission fee, you can also offer cans of food to the construction staff.
Since the night event is one of the most popular events, you should consider arriving early at the venue. There is a snack shop located at the Memorial that remains open 24 hours. In addition, there is a restaurant that closes at 4 pm.
You can watch the video below to get a glimpse of the exciting Crazy Horse Memorial Night Blasts that will take place on June 26 this year.