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Thomas Larson Medicinehorse Sr.

Retired Big Horn County Sheriff

Suua IIpche Auk Kulah

Thunder who carries the pipe

Larson was born January 30th, 1940 to Thomas Medicinehorse Jr., and Isabel Hill. He crossed to the other side camp May 13, 2019. He said he had lived a full life and was happy with his family and what he had done in his life to help people. 

On the fourth day of his life, in a traditional Crow naming ceremony his maternal grandfather Good Horses gave him his name Bacheewassee, First Man, after the Adam and Eve story in the bible.

Larson grew up on the Crow Indian reservation and attended schools in Crow Agency and Hardin. He did not finish high school, later at the age of 27 he got his GED and went on to two years of college. 

Larson was known by his middle name by his family and Tom by his colleagues in the bureau of Indian Affairs Law Enforcement Services.

Larson learned the traditional ways from his grandfather Joe Hill and began Sundancing at the age of 14 years old in 1954 at Crow Agency. At the time of Larson’s last count he said that since 1954 to 1999 he had sundanced 75+ times. He said on the average he would dance three to four times a year. In 1999 he was in his last dance at Pryor with his replacement Ben Cloud, Larson’s Nephew.

Larson came out of retirement in June 2002 to be the Intercessor/Sundance Chief of the Medicinehorse Sundance. Larson received a name from the spirits during one of the dances, Thunder who carries the pipe, Suua iipche auk kulah.  Larson did retire in 2011 as the Medicinehorse Sundance Chief and passed the pipe to his brother Donald Medicinehorse who until his untimely death in 2016 was the Sundance chief of the Medicinehorse Sundance. Marlin Medicinehorse was named as the chief of the Medicinehorse Sundance, which was Larson’s wish.

Larson was very proud of his Crow, Sioux and Mexican heritage. He said it was the Mexican blood that made the Hill’s so good looking.

His Sioux blood came from his father Thomas Medicinehorse Jr., son of Thomas Medicinehorse who’s father was Medicinehorse AKA Left Hand Bear a powerful Sundance Chief and healer of the Oglala Sioux.

His Crow blood came from his grandmother Julia High Hawk Medicinehorse and Josephine Good Horses Hill.

His Mexican blood came from his grandfather Joe Hill who was the son of Mexican Joe Hill. Grandpa Joe was a powerful Sundance Chief and healer for the Crow People and was a leader of the Elk Society and full Moon ceremony.

Larson attended Heavy Equipment operator school in Chicago and received his diploma in 1961. He also was a water master in Crow Heart Wyoming in the 1960s.

In 1967 Larson became a tribal police officer. He worked as a part-time jailer/police officer for one year at Crow Agency.  He was then assigned as the Black Lodge district police officer until he joined the Bureau of Indian Affairs Police in 1970 and left the Crow Reservation.

He attended and passed US Indian Police Academy Class #1 in Roswell, New Mexico, on May 2, 1969.

During the course of his career as a law enforcement officer he accomplished many things.

A few of his many accomplishments are as follows:

Criminal Investigation Course 1971, Sharpshooter and Firearms Instructor 1975, US DOJ DEA Narcotic and Dangerous drug Law Enforcement 1975, FBI training school Law enforcement Instructor Development 1976, Mohave Community College Basic EMT course 1977, US Indian Police Training Center Brigham Utah/ Police Training Institute Indian Law Enforcement Executive Management 1977, Tactical Police Training 1980.

Larson retired from the U.S. Indian Police in 1982 and returned to Crow Agency and worked as a Crow Tribal Security Officer.  He went to Arizona in 1984 to work for VisionQuest. He met his current wife Patti in 1985 and they returned to Crow Agency in 1986, when Larson was asked to be the Undersheriff of Big Horn County for Sheriff Bill Joy. Larson was hired as the Chief Deputy in 1987 when the newly elected Sheriff Ed Whaley was sworn in.

State of Montana DOJ Council on Peace Officer Standards and Training Basic Certificate January 1, 1988.

Larson successfully ran for and won the Big Horn County Sheriff election in 1990. He was re-elected 3 more times and retired in 2006.

These are just a few of his accomplishments in his long wonderful life. We have not included family names at this time.

We want thank at this time all the medical health individuals who helped Larson over the last 79 years.

Dr. James D. Upchurch, Larson’s doctor since 1987 and Larson’s adopted brother.

The staff of IHS, Billings Clinic, St. Vincent’s, Big Horn Valley Health Center, Big Horn County Memorial, Compasses. Heartfelt thanks to the staff of Big Horn County Ambulance.  MD’s Quanbeck, Echeverri, Rawlinson, McQuire, Goodman, Vincent, Apostle, Melzer and all other people involved involved in the care of this wonderful man.

Wake 7:00 p.m. at Crow Agency Multi Purpose Building Thursday, May 16, 2019. Funeral Friday, May 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Crow Agency Multi Purpose Building. Burial at Crow Agency Cemetery.

Bullis Mortuary has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.

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