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Brigadier General George Crook led an army out of Fort Fetterman (named after the luckless Capt. William Fetterman, who had been killed near Ft. Phil Kearney in 1866 in what was then the greatest US military defeat on the Great Plains) as part of what was supposed to be a three-pronged attack against recalcitrant tribes. On 17 June he was attacked on the Rosebud River by a force led by Tašúŋke Witkó ("Crazy Horse"), who had decoyed Fetterman's force into an ambush a decade earlier. Crook withdrew to his encampment on Goose Creek, and waited there for seven weeks for reinforcements, while Tašúŋke Witkó advanced to the Little Bighorn River, where he annhilted the 7th Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstong Custer on 25 June. But after a winter of severe deprivation, he and other Oglala Lakota surrendered and were forced onto a reservation. However, tensions between the Oglala and the army grew, and Crook was instructed to make an inspection at Ft. Robinson to settle matters. Crook ordered Tašúŋke Witkó's arrest . In the ensuing scuffle he was stabbed with a bayonet and died and Sept. 6, 1977. Before the fatal incident, he was asked where were his lands? "My lands are where my dead lie buried," he replied.In 1931 Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) contacted Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who had earlier begun the work of carving the figures of Confederate leaders Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis into Stone Mountain, the largest bas-relief in the world. At the time of the correspondence, Borglum was in the early stages of his massive project of carving presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln onto Mount Rushmore. Ota Kte suggested it would be "most fitting to have the face of Crazy horse sculpted there" as well, but Borglum never replied, but Oya Kte's brother Mato Naji (Henry Standing Bear) continued to promote the project. Frustrated by his lack of success, in 1939 he contacted one of Borglum's assistants, Korczak Ziolkowski, saying, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, too." In the spring Ziolkowski visited the chief and began discussing the memorial, but World War II intervened and the proposal lay in limbo until 1947, when the sculptor finally agreed to do the job. Blasting on Thunderhead Mountain, in Custer County, South Dakota, began on 2 June 1948, 17 km from Mount Rushmore, and Ziolkowski continued to work on it until his death in 1982, followed by his widow Ruth, who been involved since the beginning as his assistant and who oversaw the project until her death in 2014; seven of their 10 children have also been involved with the memorial. Ruth decided to concentrate on the chief's face rather than his horse, which had been her husband's focus. The face was finished and dedicated in 1998 and has become a tourist magnet, an important consideration since the project refuses to accept any government money and relies entirely on donations and the sale of artifacts and souvenirs.When completed it will be the largest sculpture in the world, at 195 m wide and 172 m wide; just the head alone will measure 27 m in height, compared to the 18 m heads of the four presidents.
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