Indian Memorial Design Competition

"Peace Through Unity"
Indian Memorial Design Competition

Public Law 102 - 201, 102nd Congress, signed by President George Bush on December 10, 1991, renamed Custer Battlefield National Monument in Montana as Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The law also called for the design, construction and maintenance of a memorial to recognize the Indians who fought to preserve their land and culture in the Battle of Little bighorn on June 25-26, 1876.

Design Task
The design is a living memorial to the Plains Indian women, children, and men who took part in the battle and whose spirit and culture survive. The memorial will express the Plains Indian legacy.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Advisory Committee, serving in an advisory role to the Secretary of the Interior, sponsored the design competition. The National Park Service is the steward of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument site where the memorial will be located and, in conjunction with the advisory committee, will promote the memorial.

Memorial Goals:
- Express the theme "Peace Through Unity."
- Provide a place where American Indians can celebrate and honor the memory of their relatives - and the women, children, and men who took part in the battle.
- Express the spirit of the Plains Indians and the Indian Nations that played a decisive role in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, rectifying the history's imbalance of the Indian role and sacrifice.
- Create a distinguished memorial: size is not as compelling a factor as a design that does not intrude on the environment or compete with the existing monument yet is a powerful statement in itself. To accomplish its purpose, which is solely commemorative, and appeal to all citizens, the memorial must be dignified and powerful.
- Create a memorial for all time that must be a legacy for future generations. The memorial must honor those who sacrificed their lives, and it must preserve the historic landscape and environment.
- Be compatible with existing memorial, which has historical and cultural value. Conversely, the Indian Memorial should not be subordinate to the existing monument composition. Satisfying this goal will be a function of location and design.
- Serve all visitors, regardless of race, creed, or color.
- Provide a place where one can experience the land as close to its original condition as can be retained and maintained.

Competition Site and Vicinity
As noted in the legislation for the memorial, the new memorial site is along a gradually curving ridgeline that originates at Last Stand Hill and the 7th Cavalry Monument and extends in a northerly direction until it disappears. The site is near the narrow two-lane access road connecting both battlefield sites and sits atop high ground as does the existing monument. The location is highly visible from almost every direction, on and off the national monument. Nearby landmarks such as the road and pedestrian trail and visible cultural resources on the hilltop and nearby ravines will ensure attention to and attraction of this site.

Design Competition
A call for design entries was announced in July, 1996. Over a thousand individuals indicated their interest in the competition and 554 design submissions were received by October 1996. A jury made up of members of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Advisory Committee reviewed all submissions in February,1997 and made recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior for approval. The Committee recommended a first, second, and third place winner and six honorable mentions. In March 1997, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation held a ceremony to honor the winning entry designers for the Indian Memorial. John R. Collins and Alison J. Towers, Philadelphia based designers, were announced as the first place winners and received $30,000 as first prize. Second place went to Richard Alan Borkovetz, Albuquerque, NM and third place to Robert Lundgren, Philadelphia, PA.

Winning Design Entry

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
P.O. Box 39

Crow Agency, MT 59022-0039


(406) 638-2621

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