STANDOFF – An ongoing land dispute on the Blood Tribe saw a bold turn of events over the weekend. A farmer near Standoff is ignoring a tribe-administered injunction by farming land, risking his own arrest in the process.
“I’m going to prove that by farming my own land today they can throw me in jail, but they have to prove that I’m a criminal, and I’m not,” said Eugene Fox, a fourth generation farmer.
Fox has been involved in an ongoing land dispute for over a year. In May of last year, Blood Tribe chief and council stepped in and gave Fox an injunction. As a result, he is not allowed to set foot on the farmland or start up farming operations.
“It’s all about the land and he has every right to pursue a career,” said Fox’s friend and former chief, Harley Frank. “Now he’s been cut off at the knees.”
The injunction was implemented after the death of the previous land occupant, Eugene Fox’s father, the late Floyd Fox.
“This land was my father’s”, said Fox, “I worked with him many years. He signed this land over to me.”
According to Blood Tribe administration, however, there is no record of that signing. Currently, the land occupancy is still registered under the late Floyd Fox. The Blood Tribe land department says when someone dies, the entire family needs to be consulted. Both the land department and the rest of Fox’s family says that didn’t happen.
“Other family and siblings were not included with that decision or did not agree to say ‘yes, Eugene is going to be the farmer’,” said director of the land department, Clo-Ann Wells.
“No land has been divided up. My father did not leave a will, unfortunately,” said Fox’s sister, Anna Joyce Frank. “Eugene just took it upon himself to deal with the land the way he wanted to without consulting my siblings.”
Fox is adamant that his father did want him to take over occupancy of the land. He spent Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 swathing the contested field. According to Fox, Blood Tribe police arrived on scene but did not arrest him.
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