CUSTER, S.D. — There was a full day of events Crazy Horse Memorial to commemorate Native Americans’ Day on Monday.
Guests gathered in front of the veranda for a full schedule. Featured events included performances and guest speakers such as the Mark Mickelson, the son of former governor George S. Mickelson, and Lula Red Cloud, the great-great granddaughter of Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud.
Crazy Horse played a part in the original declaration of Native Americans’ Day, as it was where Governor Mickelson first made the official declaration in 1990.
At the time, changing the name from Columbus Day was a a very unheard-of move. Also, South Dakota became the first state to do anything like that.
However, years later, celebrations and formal recognitions as a day of honoring indigenous cultures only continue to grow.
“Here in South Dakota, where we have nine reservations and our native population is larger than the national average,” Assistant to the Vice President of the Visitor Center Joseph de Rouchey explained. “It’s an important part of our culture here. It’s something that, as South Dakotans, we all should be celebrating.”
De Rouchey also pointed out what he hopes visitors took away from this event and day.
“I think that if they’re leaving with questions to take on their own and continue that journey of education. Because I feel like, in general, this is part of American history but it’s not necessarily something that we’re all familiar with.”
Crazy Horse Memorial is open to the public year-round.