Blue Shield of California Foundation Expands Grants to Prevent Domestic Violence

Thank you, Blue Shield of California Foundation, for your support!
Nine community-centered groups get aid to support the most vulnerable Californians and CILS is one of them.

Read more here.

AB-233 CA Education Code Amendment: Right to Wear Religious, Ceremonial, or Cultural Adornments at School Graduation Ceremonies

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.

Watch the Assembly Education Committee meeting here and bypass watching the entire three-hour meeting by scrolling down the list and clicking on AB-233.

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.

Read more on this story here.

Administrative Assistant Position Available – Bishop Office

Program Description:                                                                                                                       

Founded in 1967, California Indian Legal Services (CILS) is the oldest public interest Indian rights law firm in the country, promoting the fundamental rights of California tribes and Indians through litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, community development, and other strategies for systemic change. CILS provides a full range of legal representation to California Indian tribes and Indian organizations, advocates for the rights of California Indians at the local, state, and national levels, and provides direct services and community education to low-income Indian individuals on issues related to Federal Indian Law.  Currently, CILS operates four offices in California. The Bishop office of CILS is also home to the Eastern Sierra Legal Assistance Project and the Inyo Mono Senior Legal Program.

Job Description:

Under the supervision of the Directing Attorney, the Administrative Assistant will be responsible for providing administrative and clerical support for the Bishop 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
  • Other administrative and clerical tasks, as assigned


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 ability to interact with clients in a professional and courteous manner. Knowledge of or interest in Indian communities and/or legal services is preferred.


$14-16.00 per hour – DOE.  This is an hourly, part-time, non-exempt position at 15-20 hours per week.   No 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


EXERCISING CRIMINAL JURISDICTION in California Tribal Courts Conference

Join us for a one-day conference 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 will include presentations from tribal court judges, tribal prosecutors, tribal defense attorneys, court clerks, tribal law enforcement and correction officers.

Who Should Attend:  Tribal leaders, tribal court judges, court personnel, tribal law enforcement, tribal attorneys, domestic violence advocates and resource providers, and tribal community members.

THURSDAY, MAY 11, 2017

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Space is limited. Registration required by 4/11/17 to: or call (760) 746-8941 x107. Breakfast and lunch are being provided.

Hosted by CILS with a grant from Bureau of Indian Affairs- Tribal Justice Support, Office of Justice Services.

Held at:
Rincon Casino and Resort, 777 South Resort Drive, Valley Center, CA 92082

Printable flyer here.