Man wants 'prayer rock' moved to Crazy Horse
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A Sioux Falls man is pushing to move a 3-ton boulder known as a "prayer rock" from a local museum to the Crazy Horse Memorial in western South Dakota.
The rock gets overlooked at the Pettigrew Museum and would be better placed at the memorial being built in the Black Hills to the Oglala Lakota warrior, said Richard Perkins, an artist who has had a lifelong interest in artifacts and hieroglyphics.
"Nobody really sees it," he told the Argus Leader newspaper.
Richard Pettigrew, who lived from 1848 to 1926, was a businessman, lawyer, surveyor and U.S. senator. He came across the granite boulder near the north-central South Dakota town of Evarts, and moved it to Sioux Falls in 1925. The rock has the impression of human hands and is believed to have been used by Native Americans to worship.
"There are two adult hand prints facing up, one hand print facing down," Perkins said. "Below that is a child's footprint. Over the years as nomadic tribes went by, they would dedicate and rededicate themselves by placing hands and feet there before the spirits or whoever they worship."
The museum's governing board is considering Perkins' proposal, which Museum Director Bill Hoskins called unusual.
"We get a request that something be returned to a family once every five years. But for requests by guys off the street, for us to take something out of the collection, this is probably the first one in 30 years," Hoskins said.
The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation would "place it in a significant place of honor" if the museum agrees and Perkins handles the delivery, said the foundation's president and chief operating officer, Laurie Becvar.
Perkins said he has spoken with a Sioux Falls bank about supporting the project, which he estimates would cost no more than $4,000.
Hoskins thinks that estimate is low. Officials a few years ago paid $6,000 to move the rock away from the street curb — a distance of only about a dozen feet, he said. The distance between the museum and the memorial is about 350 miles.