Katie here. Writing is not my strong point and you will see the obvious difference in quality between Luke's and my writing. But I also want to blog and remember our experiences so here goes.

On July 4th we got to go to Mt Rushmore. It was cool to see the four presidents carved in the mountain in person. We learned some interesting facts- for example, they spent a year and a half or so on Washington but he had a crack in his nose and they had to start all over. The sculptures were never finished but were supposed to include their waist. The sculptor Gutzon Borglum was a very egotistic and racist man. He was domineering and hard to work for. The project was on and off for years between funding and the war in the 1940's. It ultimately took 14 years and Borglum died before it's completion.

We went to Crazy horse memorial and silly me, didn't realize it was also a stone sculpture in the mountain started by a man named Korczak Ziolkowski, commissioned by Henry Standing Bear. Once finished, it will be massively larger compared to the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore. Korczak twice turned down 10 million federal dollars for the projects, keeping to a hard work ethic and staying true to the cultural and educational goals of the Native Americans. A humble man, he believed it to be an honor to be asked to sculpt Crazy Horse, and Sioux Indian from the Lakota tribe who fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn. To Henry Little Bear it was a sign that Crazy Horse's death day and Korzak's birthday were hours apart.

More about Korczak.

Korczak had ten children with his wife (his daughter is also a sculptor and now CEO of the project). Korczak had to climb 700 + stairs to get to the top of the mountain while carrying heavy equipment. Once he made the trip 9 times due an unreliable compressor.

It's with mixed feelings I listened and learned from both monuments. So many broken promises and miscommunication- the Native Americans were certainly given the short end of the stick. These Black Hills were guaranteed to be their land but when Custer found gold they could not keep the secret and in rushed the gold diggers.

Even hearing about missionary efforts from a Native American at Crazy Horse made me sad. As told by a local: "They took grandpa down to the river to get baptized and after dunking him a couple seconds they asked, "Do you see the Lord!?" to which they received the negative. A second time they dunked him and asked, "Do you see the Lord??". Negative. A third time they dunked him and kept him down a little longer. Grandma was getting worried. Finally they brought him up and asked, "Do you see the Lord!?"Grandpa replies- "are you sure he fell in here??"

Crazy Horse memorial also has a museum and educational program for Native American Indians. I loved these portraits done by a 16 year old boy who left his home to spend time with the Native Indians, learned many of their languages, and ended up doing all these portraits of survivors from the battle with General Custer.