CILS Celebrates Fifty Years of Legal Service to Native Communities in California

Escondido, CA – October 26, 2017: This year marks CILS’ 50th year of legal services in California Indian Country. Since its founding, CILS has taken on major issues impacting tribal sovereignty such as restoring lands to trust, quantifying tribes’ reserved water rights, obtaining equitable federal funding for California tribes, litigating discrimination and civil rights and fortifying tribal governments. During the last five decades CILS has also tackled tribal termination, Native prisoners’ religious rights, and renegotiating tribal gaming compacts.

CILS grew out for the California Rural Legal Assistance legal aid program that focused efforts on all rural communities amidst the political and social movements of the 1960s. Recognizing the uniquely complex legal issues facing Native American communities in California, attorney George Duke and a young Hoopa activist named David Risling began our story with the incorporation of CILS in 1967.

The life of the organization and its mission can be summed up succinctly enough. “CILS never gives up…always defending and enforcing Indian rights from forces that would cause harm. We are celebrating fifty years of serving California Indian communities with legal services that involve issues unique to Native Americans,” explains Mark Romero, Chairman of CILS’s Board of Trustees. “I could not be prouder of these accomplishments and look forward to celebrating all the legal victories for Indian people that will come in the next fifty years.”

CILS continues to grow with tribal communities in California and serves them through four offices strategically located in Bishop, Escondido, Eureka, and Sacramento. Protecting tribal communities requires constant vigilance. CILS actively serves clients and handles cases in all fifty-eight California counties. The organization is guided by a Board of Trustees comprised of tribal and community leaders, appointees of the State Bar of California, and representatives of the client-eligible population.

A Celebration of CLS’ 50th Anniversary

Pictured: Mark Romero, Chairman of CILS Board of Trustees, handing out gift bags to honored elders

Pictured: Dorothy Alther, Executive Director, CILS; Sheila Quinlan, CILS Board of Trustees and Attorney in private practice; Joe Ayala, CILS Board of Trustees and Attorney, State of California Office of Legislative Counsel

CILS’s 50th anniversary coincided with another special occasion, the observance of California Native American Day turning fifty, which was observed on Friday, September 22, 2017. In honor of our joint anniversaries, CILS and CNAD commissioned a poster to commemorate this historic double milestone. The poster featured a colorful bear created by award-winning artist John Balloue. These posters were handed out to all the attendees at CNAD. To honor the elders and tribal leaders participating in the festivities, CILS made gift bags that included posters, pins, and the history of CILS. The bags were handed out by members of the CILS Board of Trustees and its Executive Director, Dorothy Alther.

Following the CNAD celebration, CILS hosted an anniversary reception at the Hyatt Regency across the street from the State Capitol. The event was well attended by tribal representatives, past and current clients, representatives of government agencies, alumni attorneys and friends old and new. Guests were treated to performances by the Southbay Ramblers drumming group and the Chumash Intertribal Singers. André Cramblit, CILS Board of Trustees member, a traditional storyteller, and singer/drummer honored us with our opening prayer and shared a touching story about why he serves on the CILS Board. CILS also presented a short film on the history of CILS produced by Jack Kohler through On Native Ground’s productions. Governor Jerry Brown’s Tribal Liaison, Cynthia Gomez presented the Board of Trustees and our Executive Director with a proclamation acknowledging CILS’ accomplishments and the “efforts of CILS in removing the legacies of [California’s] historic wrongs and forging a better understanding among our peoples as we face the future together.”

Pictured: Diana Terrazas, Community Outreach Manager, Autry Museum; Tracy Stanhoff, President, American Indian Chamber of Commerce of CA; Nicole Scott, Director of Marketing and Development, California Indian Legal Services; Matthew Kennedy, Principal Landscape Architect, Costello Kennedy; Joe Ayala, CILS Board of Trustees and Attorney, State of California Office of Legislative Counsel

Pictured: Reception guests watching CILS’ 50th Anniversary video

Pictured: Chumash Inter-Tribal Singers

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Staff Attorney Position Available – Escondido Office

Program Description:

California Indian Legal Services is a statewide, tribally controlled, non-profit corporation that provides legal services to Indian tribes, Indian organizations and low income individual Indians on issues involving Federal Indian Law. CILS provides a variety of legal services including brief counsel and advice and extended representation on core legal issues affecting Native Americans and Indian tribes. CILS is involved in litigation, policy analysis and advocacy and also provides transactional services to tribes involving economic development and tribal infrastructure. CILS has four offices throughout California. Additional information about CILS may be found on our website at www.calindian.org.

Job Description:

Supervised by the Directing Attorney, the Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with other staff to provide exceptional legal services in all areas of Federal Indian law. Our fast-paced office provides legal services on issues of jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, tribal governance, employment and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The Staff Attorney will assume a varied case load that may include: brief counsel and services to low income Indian individuals; state and federal court litigation; contract negotiation; advising tribal clients; developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients; making presentations; and ICWA related dependency cases.

Qualifications:

 California bar membership in good standing.
 Excellent communication, writing and organizational skills.
 Strong work ethic and able to work nights and weekends when many tribal councils meet.
 Ability to travel overnight and a valid driver’s license.
 A commitment to providing high quality legal services for Indian people.
 Ability to work independently, as part of a team and to take initiative.

The following qualifications are desirable but not absolutely required:

 Demonstrated knowledge of Federal Indian law with at least 1-3 years of experience practicing law.
 Familiarity or experience working with Indian individuals, tribes or Indian communities.
 Prior legal services experience.

Salary:

Competitive salary D.O.E. CILS offers full family/partner medical, vision and dental benefits, AD&D, short & long-term disability insurances, life insurance, Section 125 Flexible Spending Account, generous leave policies and potential for annual performance incentive.

To Apply:

Submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, Re: Sacramento Staff Attorney, 117 J Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814. E-mail hiring@calindian.org. We will accept applications until the position is filled. All applicants will be notified when a final hiring decision is made.

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Administrative Assistant Position Available – Eureka Office

Program Description:                                                                                                                            

California Indian Legal Services is a statewide, tribally controlled, non-profit corporation that provides legal services to Indian tribes, Indian organizations and low-income individual Indians on issues involving Federal Indian Law.  CILS provides a variety of legal services including brief counsel and advice and extended representation on core legal issues affecting Native Americans and Indian tribes.  CILS is involved in litigation, policy analysis, and advocacy and also provides transactional services to tribes involving economic development and tribal infrastructure.

CILS has four offices throughout California.  Our Sacramento office provides legal services in 7 counties that include 18 of the 110 federally recognized tribes in California.

Job Description:

Under the supervision of the Directing Attorney, the Administrative Assistant will be responsible for providing administrative and clerical support for the Eureka Office staff, as well as a broad range of program activities. Specific duties may vary considerably over time, but are likely to include:

  • Answer and direct incoming calls
  • Greet and assist all clients and visitors to the office
  • Type correspondence and other legal documents in support of the legal staff
  • Sort and distribute daily mail; process outgoing mail
  • Monitor and stock office supplies
  • Arrange for maintenance and repair of office equipment
  • Data entry, copying, calendaring and general filing
  • Assist with file creation, maintenance, and organization
  • Assist with the preparation of reports, presentations, and other publications
  • Manage phone and voicemail system;
  • Calendar and tickle cases;
  • Coordinate travel and related tasks;
  • Other administrative and clerical tasks, as assigned

Qualifications:

AA/Clerical school degree preferred or previous clerical experience.  Must be proficient in MS Office, other standard software programs; have excellent communication and typing skills; and experience with telephone systems.  Must demonstrate the ability to interact with clients in a professional and courteous manner. CA driver’s license required. Knowledge of or interest in Indian communities and/or legal services is preferred.

Salary:

DOE.  This is an hourly, full-time, non-exempt position at 40 hours per week. Generous leave policies and potential annual performance incentive.  We provide family/partner medical, dental and vision benefits.

To Apply:

Please submit resume and letter of interest to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, 609 S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025.  E-mail EUR-hiring@calindian.org.

 

CALIFORNIA INDIAN LEGAL SERVICES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. NATIVE AMERICANS,  MINORITIES AND THE DISABLED ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY. 

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