Advertise:   712.224.5420

Court hears case over alleged racial slurs at job site

The Washington Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a lawsuit alleging the Colville Tribes are responsible for alleged racial slurs made by Native employees.

Christopher Wright, a non-Native, was hired by the tribe to do construction work. He claims Native employees frequently harassed him, called him names and threatened him, forcing him to quit.

Wright sued two tribal corporations. The court of appeals ruled it had jurisdiction to hear the case "[b]ecause the alleged conduct occurred off the reservation."

The appeals court further said the tribal corporations can be sued because they were "organized primarily for commercial purposes and their actions do not bind the tribe."

The tribe appealed to the state Supreme Court and argued that the corporations enjoy sovereign immunity. Lawyers said Wright can file his case in tribal court.

The case is Wright v. Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation/Colville Tribal Services Corporation, No. 77558-3.

Get the Story:
White construction worker sues Colville tribe (AP 5/18)
White worker sues tribes (The Spokesman Review 5/17)

Lower Court Decision:
Wright v Colville (May 23, 2005)

Relevant Links:
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation -