After his death, he was buried in a tomb at the foot of the mountain, and Ruth Ziolkowski took the reins of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.
Now, all around the 1,500-square-foot cabin where the family first set up residence--and where Ruth, 81, still lives--an 80-room, 40,000-square foot Welcome Center sprawls. Visitors will find a studio, a museum, a gift shop, a sit-down restaurant that operates in summer months, an Indian cultural center where jewelry makers and other artisans sell work and a fleet of buses running up and down the wide gravel road to Thunderhead Mountain. Since 2005, a laser show has played on summer nights as well.
The university and medical center haven't materialized yet, but the organization does grant scholarships to Native American students, about $113,000 last year. Although some Lakota say they resent this use of their ancestral lands as much as they resent Mt. Rushmore, author Ian Frazier has noted in his book "Great Plains" that Crazy Horse "is the one place on the Plains where I saw lots of Indians smiling." I saw them too.