Indian business owner sues Southern Ute Tribe for failed contract

Chavez Todichiinii Construction Corp at work in Colorado. Photo from Facebook

An Indian business owner is accusing the Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado of failing to follow its Indian preference policy.

Christopher Chavez, a member of the Navajo Nation, had a subcontract with the Southern Ute Growth Fund but he told The Durango Herald that it was canceled without adequate notice. When he tried to bring up Indian preference, he said he was told that the tribe's policy doesn't apply to off-reservation projects like the one he was supposed to work on at Three Springs Durango.

“They have no jurisdiction to implement Indian Preference off the reservation, and they don’t offer any remedy,” Chavez told the paper. He said he tried to file a complaint with the tribal employment rights office.

Chavez is seeking $15 million from the Southern Ute Growth Fund and two attorneys associated with the tribe. The defendants are seeking the dismissal of the case, which was filed in state court, the Herald reported.

Chavez's company is Chavez Todichiinii Construction Corp.

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