Kickapoo descendant sues Kansas tribe for discrimination

WICHITA | The former acting manager of the Golden Eagle Casino has sued the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, claiming that as a tribal descendant he was entitled to "Indian preference" under its employment policy.

Robert Nanomantube filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the Kickapoo tribe, its tribal council and the Golden Eagle Casino. Nanomantube contends the tribe racially discriminated against him and other Native American applicants when it hired a "non-Indian" for the general manager's job at the Horton, Kan., casino.

Tribal attorney Steve Campbell declined to comment, saying he had not yet seen the filing. Messages left for Nanomantube and his attorney were not immediately returned.

Nanomantube was employed as acting manager of the casino from September 2004 until December 2008, according to court documents.

The complaint contends that while Nanomantube is not a member of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, he is a so-called resident Indian and Kickapoo descendant as defined by the casino's "Indian Preference Policy."

The policy states it will give Indian preference in hiring and employment to eligible individuals in the following order: Kansas Kickapoo tribal members, enrolled members of any other Kickapoo band, resident Indians, nonresident Indians, Kickapoo descendants and then to any qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age or disability.

Nanomantube alleges he was denied his hiring preference because of his race and color, suffering damages of more than $100,000.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas, seeks his reinstatement with back pay and benefits or other compensation for loss of income and benefits, humiliation, emotional distress and other damages. It also asks for punitive damages.