Not everyone considers the sculpture an honor.
In an interview with Voice of America, Elaine Quiver, another descendant of Crazy Horse, said Standing Bear had no right to order the monument.
"They don't respect our culture because we didn't give permission for someone to carve the sacred Black Hills where our burial grounds are," Quiver said. "They were there for us to enjoy and they were there for us to pray. But it wasn't meant to be carved into images, which is very wrong for all of us. The more I think about it, the more it's a desecration of our Indian culture. Not just Crazy Horse, but all of us."
Tim Giago, founder of the Native Sun News, which is based in nearby Rapid City, told The New York Times he has never heard "a single Native American say, 'I'm proud of that mountain.' "
There's also disagreement over the depiction of Crazy Horse's face. Though it's a source of some dispute, many experts say there are no known photographs of Crazy Horse, and thus, creating a statue in his likeness is foolish.
However, according to a biography provided by the Crazy Horse Memorial, the statue is not meant to be a rendition of Crazy Horse. Instead, it's supposed to honor the spirit of Crazy Horse.
Dobbs acknowledges that the "significance of the Crazy Horse Memorial and reaction to the mountain carving varies" among Native Americans. However, he feels as though the perception of the mountain is getting better.
"The growth of the memorial's tribal flag collection to more than 120 banners from American and Canadian tribes and groups indicates spreading popularity for Crazy Horse," said Dobbs. "The extent of applications for the limited openings in the summer university program is another indicator of support."
The tribal flags are given to the memorial as a sign of respect from the nation represented by the flag. It's also a sign of "continuing support of the ongoing project," Dobbs said.
Wanda McFaggen of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians, which sent their flag to the Crazy Horse monument, praised the memorial for its historical significance.
"We believe that education is a vital tool in helping the non-native communities understand who we are," said McFaggen, director of the tribe's historic preservation department. "It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the efforts being made by the Korczak Ziolkowski family, and we are grateful for their passion for all of us as Native American people."
The mountain also features other attractions besides the carving that "preserve" the Native American tradition, Dobbs said.
There is the Indian Museum of North America, which contains more than 11,000 historic and contemporary objects and artworks from tribal groups; the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, which houses a collection of historic prints, numerous regional artifacts and some hands-on activity displays; and the recently opened Indian University of North America, which partners with the University of South Dakota and offers courses in Native American studies.
The Crazy Horse Memorial "anticipates continued expansion of the Indian University of North America to include a medical training center, further development of the Indian Museum of North America and growth in its educational programs to enhance understanding of the varied Native American cultures," Dobbs said.
However, Big Crow feels like the money being spent on these buildings should be used solely on the statue.
"When you start making money rather than to try to complete the project, that's when, to me, it's going off in the wrong direction," Big Crow said in the Voice of America interview.
'A project that will never end ...'
But the Ziolkowskis have always insisted that this be a painstaking process -- "so you do it right" -- and the memorial website flatly states the memorial "is a project that will never end, even after the mountain carving is complete."
After 50 years of work, Crazy Horse's 87-foot head was completed in 1998, and work is presently being done to finish 219-foot-tall head of the Native American warrior's steed, according to the Ziolkowskis.
When and if it's complete, the entire monument will be 641 feet wide. In terms of size, Mount Rushmore, just 17 miles away, has four 60-foot heads, all of which can fit inside the lone head of Crazy Horse.
Crazy Horse died after being captured by enemy soldiers. As with most Crazy Horse-related lore, the exact time and manner of death are disputed, and even a highway sign near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, lists four possible resting places.