Family looks to reclaim land owned by Famous Grandfather

Tom Three Persons First Nations cowboy, Tom Three Persons from the Blood tribe in southern Alberta emerged as the 1912 World Champion bronc rider at the Calgary Stampede. Not only was he a great athlete, Three Persons was also a savvy businessman, and he continued to successfully compete while building a sizable and successful ranch where he raised Thoroughbreds and Herefords. He was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1983. Photos courtesy NA 778-7 Glenbow Archives
Tom Three Persons
First Nations cowboy, Tom Three Persons from the Blood tribe in southern Alberta emerged as the 1912 World Champion bronc rider at the Calgary Stampede. Not only was he a great athlete, Three Persons was also a savvy businessman, and he continued to successfully compete while building a sizable and successful ranch where he raised Thoroughbreds and Herefords. He was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1983.
Photos courtesy NA 778-7 Glenbow Archives

Roy Three Persons wants his family’s land back. Specifically about 2,500 acres once owned by his grandfather Tom, who has been referred to as “Alberta’s most famous cowboy,” which has been under a longstanding dispute between the family and Blood Tribe adminstration.

“We would love to revive our grandfather’s estate and get cattle out there, and horses, and revive his ranch – and carry on his legend,” Three Persons said.

“We have a lot of merit and documents that prove this was my grandfather’s and this was my dad’s. There’s a forensic analyst that determined the signature of one of the documents.”

Tom was a champion at the inaugural Calgary Stampede in 1912, and is considered to be the first big rancher on the Blood Reserve. He ran horses and cattle at a site near the St. Mary’s dam and is also said to have lent his knowledge of ranching and rodeo to others in the community.

When Tom died in 1949, the ranch land was given to his son Jesse – Roy Three Persons’ father. But Jesse was still too young to handle the titles, so everything was put in the care of a guardian. That’s when the problems started, he says.

When Jesse died, Three Persons says chief and council took a chunk of the ranch and that four “squatters” have been living there since. He says one person has wrongly been on 1,600 acres for 45 years, while another wrongly claims to have had an “honest deal” for 960 acres. This has been going on for 27 years, Three Persons said.

“When my dad had passed away, everything just went crooked in the office at the administration. People were just taking over what they wanted. A lot of crooked work was done in the lands department with the Blood Tribe administration in the past,” he said.

“We just want to get everything cleared up. We want our rights back to my grandfather’s estate. Right now there’s people on this estate. They’re just living off it; they’re not reviving the ranch. They don’t belong there.”

Three Persons and his brothers had hired a lawyer in 1999, but the matter didn’t move. So he’s renewed his concerns to the Blood Tribe’s chief and council and recently staged a protest outside the tribe office in Stand Off. The family now has a lawyer again and they have spoken to council, who told the brothers they need more time to review the issues.

“This present chief and council, I guess from what I hear, is trying to clean up everything. They’re trying to clean up all the dirty work that has been going on,” Three Persons said. “But if I don’t make a stand, we’re just going to keep getting shoved under the carpet. We’re going to be here until it’s taken care of; until this matter is settled. We need this settled. We’re tired of it.”

Neither Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weasel Head nor tribe spokesman Rick Tailfeathers were available for comment on Tuesday. But Three Persons said the matter was tabled for the next council meeting, which is set for next week.

“They’re reviewing the information,” Three Persons said. “I don’t know what they’re going to say on (Tuesday) the 27th, but we just need results because this has dragged on too long. We want to revive our grandfather’s ranch and help out the reserve the way he did.”

Source: Lethbridge Herald
Nick Kuh
nkuhl@lethbridgeherald.com

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *