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June 2018                                                                               Volume 4, Number 14
CILS Conducts Statewide Tribal Legal Needs Assessment
What are the Most Pressing Tribal Issues CILS Should Focus Its Attention and Resources on?

Escondido, CA -  June 6, 2018: Over the past fifty-one years, California Indian Legal Services (CILS) has witnessed dynamic changes in the lives of our people from one end of the State to the other. During this time, challenges, needs, and conditions have ebbed and flowed depending on fiscal, regulatory, and social circumstances, and CILS has adjusted its efforts accordingly. To remain current and relevant to these ever-changing needs, CILS is conducting a statewide tribal legal needs assessment to determine tribes' legal needs. What are the most pressing issues CILS should be focusing our attention and resources on?

Pictured: Mark Romero, Chairman of the CILS Board of Trustees and Nicole Scott, CILS Director of Marketing and Development
Mark Romero, Chairman of the CILS Board of Trustees and former Chair of the Mesa Grande Band of Indians, and Nicole Scott, CILS Director of Marketing and Development are visiting tribes throughout California to talk about their current legal issues. They are conducting a statewide tribal legal needs assessment with Tribal Councils, administrators, and other leaders to discuss how CILS can best serve tribes and our Native American community as a whole.

Since February 2018, Mark and Nicole have met with ten tribes in southern California. We anticipate it will take two years to reach our goal of visiting every tribe throughout the state. From visits we have learned tribes are looking at revising their Constitutions, drafting more tribal codes, have school discrimination concerns, and are increasing economic development. The first ten tribes gave us great advice. "Visit all the tribes, and find ways to help groups with the same regional problems"; "Keep doing what you are doing"; "Go and talk with the tribes about issues, and find legal solutions."

"These meetings allow us to get insight into what legal issues each tribe is focusing on and regional problems many tribes face. The assessments will help CILS prepare for the coming legal challenges and understand what tribes want most," stated Mark Romero, Chairman of the CILS Board of Trustees. "It is humbling to think about all the legal victories tribes have won through the decades. Meeting with Tribal Councils, both old and new, reminds me of the story we are writing for the future generations. These legal victories play a big part in our future."

"CILS will be reaching out to all California tribes for their valuable advice and counsel on how to best serve our community moving forward. The tribal legal needs assessment takes about an hour and helps CILS understand which issues need our attention and resources. We look forward to visiting each tribe," said Nicole Scott, CILS Director of Marketing and Development.
CNACA seeks to introduce a Tribal Cannabis Bill- AB924 (CREATE Act: Cannabis Regulation Enforcement and Administration of Tribal Entities) to allow tribes and tribal entities to participate in the now legal cannabis market in California. Proposition 64 excluded tribal lands, and AB924 replicates state law on tribal lands but allows tribes to be regulators. Push-back of Counties is anticipated from others who believe only the state should be allowed to regulate, even on tribal lands since the U.S. Attorney General has rescinded the "Cole" and "Wilkerson" memoranda, attention has now turned to state law. The legislation recognizes tribal sovereignty and gives full faith and credit to tribal laws.
CILS Presents to the California ChangeLawyers Foundation
San Francisco, CA - May 17, 2018: Executive Director, Dorothy Alther and Legal Fellow, Anna Hohag, attended the annual California Bar Foundation (CBF) Board meeting where they were invited to speak and present to the Board of Directors in San Francisco. At the meeting, it was announced that CBF would be changing their Foundation's name to "California ChangeLawyers," to better demonstrate the organization's commitment to empowering the next generation of lawyers, judges, and activists to create a more diverse legal profession, a fair justice system, and a better California. As California ChangeLawyers provides funding for Anna's Fellowship at CILS, Dorothy and Anna presented to the Board the work that CILS does throughout California to represent Native Americans, low-income individuals, and people in rural areas of the state. The Board was ecstatic to hear that CILS through the Bishop office is making real change for clients in rural communities who would ordinarily have trouble obtaining legal assistance. Their issues range from improper tax, tribal court development, and Indian wills to special education services and community education. It was clear that CILS, as one of the premier training grounds for attorneys advocating for tribes in California and nationwide, fit perfectly into the vision of California ChangeLawyers, who were happy to see their Fellowship grants used to further their mission.

More on the story here

Eureka, CA -  June 11, 2018:  JulieAnne Shull joins the CILS team as an Administrative Assistant providing support to the Eureka CILS office.

" I feel very fortunate and grateful to be a part of the CILS community.  I am excited to learn from and assist a dedicated, passionate group of people in protecting Indian rights." Shull said.

JulieAnne Shull joined California Indian Legal Services in April 2018. She has lived in Humboldt County for the last fifteen years and has loved the people and environment that make it special. After earning a Paralegal Studies degree from College of the Redwoods, she gained several years of experience in law offices specializing in corporate, family, and criminal law.
  CILS Program Highlights 

CILS and the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians completed four one-day trainings on how to form a tribal economic development entity. Trainings were presented March 14th at the Round Valley Reservation, April 14th at the Wiyot Indian Table Bluff Reservation, May 3rd at the Lone Pine Reservation, and June 13th at the Rincon Reservation.

CILS gave a presentation on the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) at the Yurok Reservation on March 12th.

CILS gave a P.L. 280 training o n April 10th in San Diego to the California Highway Patrol, approximately fifty CHP officers from Southern California attended. The training was well received.

CILS presented on "Tribal Court Development" at the Wiyot Indian Table Bluff Reservation on April 13th.

CILS participated in the 25th Annual ICWA Conference at Graton Rancheria on June 4th and 5th, presenting on the "Nuts and Bolts of ICWA" and Tribal Criminal Background Checks.

  Free Walk-in Legal Clinics at Indian Health Councils in San Diego County
CILS offers two free walk-in legal clinics from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm on the second Wednesday of each month at Indian Health Council on the Rincon Indian Reservation and fourth   Wednesday of each month at the Southern Indian Health Council in Alpine. Clinics are staffed by a Legal Advocate and Attorney who assist with domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking issues. Services can include helping with safety planning and crisis intervention; assistance with filling out restraining orders; restraining order hearing preparation; and other legal consultations relating to victimization.  

The walk-in clinics operate on a first come, first served basis. There are no income guidelines for assistance. The Legal Advocate and Attorney are very experienced in these areas of law, provide trauma victims with informed, confidential, and culturally appropriate services.

Good News Stories
Possible Allotment Litigation
Dorothy Alther, Executive Director, and Anna Hohag, Legal Fellow, are working with an elderly Bishop Paiute member and other interest holders in seeking reimbursement from Inyo County of illegally assessed and paid property taxes on their Indian allotment and quieting title against non-Indian landowners currently living on the allotment. The latter owner's title is null and void since the BIA never approved the sale of the allotment sold to them by client's grandmother. CILS is waiting for the BIA to give the current occupants of the land notice of trespass before filing an action in federal court if necessary.

Eagle Feather Graduation Granted
CILS Escondido Directing Attorney Mark Vezzola was successful in having the Jurupa Unified School District agree to allow our client to wear an eagle feather at his graduation. Client's mother contacted CILS upset with the school's decision to deny her son's request to wear an eagle feather at graduation. Mark wrote to the 
school superintendent explaining the importance of the eagle feather in honoring the student's accomplishments and his family, as well as the law supporting the request. The school's attorney responded that the school had reconsidered its decision and would grant the student's request.

CDSS ICWA Workgroup
CILS Sacramento Directing Attorney Jedd Parr took part in the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) workgroup analyzing the federal ICWA regulations and determining how to incorporate them into the state's Division 31 regulations for County social workers. CILS and several tribal representatives met with CDSS on a number of occasions to try to ensure the state regulations are consistent with federal regulations as closely as possible. Although the process was somewhat constrained by the timeframe CDSS was working under, we did manage to make good recommendations and provide input during the public comment period.

We encourage you to think about CILS while you are shopping on Amazon. Give us a big smile because you are making a difference for California Indians that need low cost or free legal services. With your donation through Amazon we can continue to provide legal services to California Indians.

California Indian Legal Services