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March 2017                                                                              Volume 3, Number 9
Support Assembly Bill 233 - 
CA Education Code Amendment

On March 15, 2017, the Assembly Education Committee held a hearing and passed AB-233, that was introduced by Assemblymember Todd Gloria, (D-San Diego). Under AB-233 the California Education Code would be amended to prohibit schools from denying students the right to wear traditional, cultural, or religious adornment on their cap and gown during graduation. The need for this amendment comes after numerous contacts received by CILS each graduation season from Native American students and their families reporting that their local school is denying the student the right to wear an eagle feather on their graduation cap, beaded adornment on their gown or a tribal traditional sash. Testifying before the Committee on the importance and need for AB-233 was CILS Executive Director, Dorothy Alther, the Honorable Chairman from the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, Bo Mazzetti and Ms. Rebekah Israel, a member of the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe who graduated in 2016 and had her eagle feather removed from her graduation cap.

The California School Board Association (CSBA) filed a letter opposing the bill and testified against AB-233 contending, among other things, that the amendment was unnecessary because current law and local school district already ensure students the right to wear items of religious significance at their graduation, such as an eagle feather. As pointed out by the testimony of both Ms. Alther and Ms. Israel, this is not the case, and there is a lack of consistency among school districts on this issue. AB-233 will bring a uniform, standard and practice to all schools ensuring no student is denied their right to freedom of expression at their graduation.

AB-233 will now move to the Assembly Judiciary Committee for review and hearing.
CILS will like to thank all of the tribes that submitted letters of support and/or had their representatives at the hearing to voice their support directly before the Committee.

Pictured: Christian Titman graduated from Clovis High School in 2016 wearing a

Video: CILS explains the CA Education Code Amendment.
Join us for a one-day conference on Thursday, May 11th at Rincon Casino and Resort devoted to the "nuts and bolts" needed for California tribal courts to exercise criminal jurisdiction over Indians and non-Indian offenders who commit domestic violence on tribal lands.

Presenters will be from out-of-state tribes comparable in population and size to many California tribes that currently exercise criminal jurisdiction. The agenda includes presentations from tribal court judges, tribal prosecutors, tribal defense attorneys, court clerks, tribal law enforcement and correction officers.

 FREE CILS ICWA Training Events
March 3, 2017:  California Indian Legal Services, through the support of the California Department of Social Services will be providing training to tribal leaders, tribal social workers, and ICWA Advocates to assist them in successfully pursuing ICWA compliance in state court child welfare cases. Attendance at these trainings will be free, but limited to 35 participants each. We hope to see you there! 

Who should attend these trainings?
Priority attendance will be given to Tribal Leaders and Representatives, Tribal Social Workers, and Tribal ICWA Advocates.  All others wishing to attend will be placed on a wait list and approved for training 10 days before the event date as space permits.

Where are these events?
There are fourteen events scheduled in March, April, May and June. These events are taking place in Bishop, San Diego, Eureka and Sacramento. REGISTER HERE

ICWA Advocate Training:
2 ½ Day Course - This course will provide an overview of the ICWA requirements and its interplay with California juvenile dependency procedure. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to apply the legal framework to real-life simulated facts, and hone their advocacy skills.

BIA ICWA Regulations Training:
Full-day course will provide training on the 2016 BIA ICWA Regulations, focusing on their practical implementation in California. The goal is to help tribal and county social workers collaborate during the dependency process and elicit feedback regarding what is needed to better support county/tribal relationships.

Tribal Customary Adoption Training:
Full-day course designed to provide training in the legal and practical considerations necessary to implement Tribal Customary Adoption. By learning more about Tribal Customary Adoption and Tribal Customary Adoption Orders, tribes will be able to more efficiently assess the appropriateness of Tribal Customary Adoption and to navigate the process.

Tribal Criminal Background Check Training:
Full-day course designed to provide tribes the level of training and resources in the legal and practical considerations necessary for new California legislation that allows tribes to conduct criminal background checks and consider appropriate waivers/exemptions, potentially increasing the number of placements available. 
  CILS Program Highlights 
BISHOP: Jasmine Andreas, Directing Attorney, did a presentation for the Tule River Tribe on tribal court development and another tribal community presentation on Educational issues on January 31, 2017. 
ESCONDIDO: Mark Radoff, Senior Attorney, and Mark Vezzola, Directing Attorney, presented on "Negotiating Contracts on Tribal Land" sponsored by the National Business Institute in Palm Desert on January 26, 2017.  Dorothy Alther, Executive Director, on February 7, 2017, sat on panel with Joe Meyers from the NIJC and Bo Mazzetti the Chairman of the Rincon Tribe at a day-long training at the CA Highway Patrol Headquarters in Sacramento. The panel provided responses to questions that were prepared in advance of the training and focused on jurisdiction of both the CHP and tribal law enforcement. 

EUREKA: Tamara Honrado, Staff Attorney, and Laura Svoboda, Advocate, continued to represent and assist individual and tribal clients on a wide variety of Indian law matters.

SACRAMENTO: Blake Atkerson, Staff Attorney, did a presentation on January 13, 2017 on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act at Coyote Valley and another presentation on January 18, 2017 for the Big Sandy Tribe. 
CILS Hires Jay Petersen as Sacramento Office Staff Attorney
CILS is pleased to announce its recent hire of Jay Petersen, who will re join the CILS team as a Staff Attorney working in the Sacramento office. Petersen, who previously spent twenty years at CILS before pursuing other opportunities , will provide legal assistance to tribes and Indian organizations in the Sacramento service territory.
Jay is a career legal services attorney who started practice on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota where he worked as Reginald Heber Smith Community Law Fellow. During his previous stint at CILS Jay worked in both the Bishop and Oakland offices, the latter as Directing Attorney. His caseload covered a wide range of issues that include non-profit representation, Native religious practices, legislative political restoration, un-termination litigation, access to trust  land issues, habeas corpus, federal recognition, ICWA and public benefits. He is active in the volunteer community and has worked on non-profit housing, domestic violence prevention, and recovery program boards. Jay recently earned a master's degree in political science.

"I feel privileged to work for a trusted community-based organization that has produced or been closely associated with the dramatic and positive changes experienced in the statewide Indian community over the last 50 years and to be part of the important legacy handed down by all the clients, staff and attorneys who refused to walk away from injustice and oppression in cowardice and indifference," said Petersen.
CILS Hires Denise Bareilles as Eureka Office Senior Staff Attorney
CILS is delighted to announce its recent hire of Denise Bareilles, who will be joining the Eureka office as a senior staff attorney. 

Denise was born and raised in the U.S. Territory of Guam and moved to the states to attend law school at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. She graduated with a J.D. in 2004.  Most of her legal career has been spent in Northern California where she currently resides with her husband and two young children. In her earlier years, she practiced in the areas of general civil litigation, insurance defense, probate, and estate planning. She then went on and started working for the Yurok Tribal Court from 2011 to 2017 and gained substantial experience in the areas of tribal court development, intergovernmental negotiations with county and state agencies, development and implementation of direct federal funding to tribal social services agencies under Title IV of the Social Security Act (which included development of the first tribal Title IV-D child support program in California), tribal code development, and the American Indian Probate and Reform Act. Denise is barred to practice law in the courts of the State of California, the U.S. Territory of Guam, and the Yurok Reservation. 

When Denise was asked what she looked forward to most about her new position with CILS, she said, "I am excited to assist tribes in governing their membership and communities."
Enrolled Tribal Member Certification Form (FTB Form 3504)

On January 2, 2017, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the agency tasked with collecting state income taxes from residents, introduced Form FTB 3504, Enrolled Tribal Member Certification Form, on its website. FTB Form 3504, which was designed with input from tribal leaders and attorneys, allows tribal members to declare their tribal enrollment status and reservation residency in order to show an exemption from state income taxation. The completed form should be attached to the individual's state income tax return(s). Without the form, the FTB does not always know who does or does not qualify for the tax exemption, which sometimes results in improper and unnecessary state income tax assessments.

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 needs low cost and no cost legal aid. We are here to provide this legal assistance and with your help, we can.
California Indian Legal Services