SOUTH DAKOTA (CBSNewYork) — A monument honoring native American legend Crazy Horse is slowly taking shape high above the Black Hills of South Dakota.

For nearly 70 years, crews have been blasting millions of tons of rock off the mountain.

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Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began construction in 1948. His work on Mount Rushmore drew the attention of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear who invited him to design a memorial to American Indians.

“He said my fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man had great heroes to,” Ziolkowski told CBS News’ ’60 Minutes.’

His daughter Monique now oversees the work.

Crazy Horse’s face was completed in the late 90s. Crews are now working to shape the horse’s head and Crazy Horse’s outstretched hand.

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In some spots, the crews only have a few feet of rock left to remove, but finishing just the hand will take years.

Caleb Ziolkowski is the third generation of his family to work on the project.

“It is hard from a mile away to see the changes,” he said. “Since the time that I started this hand area has changed immensely.”

Native Americans say whenever it’s done it will provide a valuable education and ensure Crazy Horse’s place in history.

The work is privately funded through admission fees and donations.

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In addition to a museum, the master plan for the site includes an Indian University of North America.