Need Tribal Support of AB 3176 to Increase ICWA Compliance in California

Since its passage, ICWA has provided important rights and protections to Indian families. However,

the implementation and interpretation of ICWA has been inconsistent across States; creating

significant gaps in protection. As a result, the Bureau of Indian Affairs promulgated regulations to

address the need for consistent interpretation and implementation of the minimum Federal

standards ICWA provides to ensure that all Indian children and their families receive the same

rights and protections across all States.


























AB 3176 Fact Sheet (Waldron) – Conformance Bill – ICWA

Use the below model letter to send to

The Honorable Marie Waldron

California State Assembly

MODEL AB 3176 Support Letter

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. These clinics are staffed by a Legal Advocate and Attorney who will assist with issues pertaining to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking. 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, and they will provide trauma victims with informed, confidential, and culturally appropriate services.

Save the Date for the 25th Annual Indian Child Welfare Act Conference

“Weaving Traditions to Defend, Protect & Honor Indian Children, Families, and Tribes”

Celebrating 40 Years: 1978 –2018

Hosted by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and Co-Sponsored by California Department of Social Services, California Tribal Families Coalition, California Indian Legal Services, and Office of Tribal Affairs.

For more information
Go to the website and scroll down to News.
Register here for the conference.

Join us on June 4-6, 2018
At the ballroom at Graton Resort & Casino
288 Golf Course Drive West, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

For questions and information, please contact Natasha Medel at,
Ph: (707) 566-2288 x131, Fax: (707) 566-2291

CILS is Pleased to Announce the Recent Hire of Mica Llerandi and Davina Whitethorne

Mica Llerandi joins the CILS team as a Staff Attorney providing legal assistance to tribes and Indian organizations.

“After clerking with CILS in 2010, I am excited to return to the Escondido office as a staff attorney,” Llerandi said.

Mica Llerandi, a member of the Navajo Nation, joined CILS as a Staff Attorney in January 2018. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Yale University and her Juris Doctor and a Certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona, James E Rogers College of Law. During law school, Mica was selected to be a Morris K. Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Intern, interning at the Department of Defense with the Army Corps of Engineers. The following summer, Mica clerked with CILS in its Escondido office. As part of her law school coursework, she assisted Professor S. James Anaya in his capacity as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and helped with tribal code development for the White Mountain Apache Tribe. After law school, Mica worked on multiple Indian reservations in both state and tribal courts in Arizona. First on the Navajo Nation as a Staff Attorney and Domestic Violence Project Director with DNA- People’s Legal Services, then on the Gila River Indian Community as a Deputy Community Prosecutor, and lastly on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community as a Guardian ad Litem. She moved to California in 2016 and, before joining CILS, represented children in San Diego County dependency proceedings. In her spare time, she likes to read, cook, crochet, and hike with her husband and dogs.

Davina Whitethorne joins the CILS team as a Senior Administrative Assistant providing support to both the marketing and development department and the accounting department.

“I am very fortunate and thankful for the opportunity to provide support in any way to CILS. I look forward to utilizing my experiences and education to promote CILS’ vision of protecting Indian rights,” Whitethorne said.

Davina Whitethorne is a Senior Administrative Assistant at the Escondido office. As a member of the Dine’ (Navajo) Tribe, she was born and raised on the reservation. Davina moved to San Diego fifteen years ago. She studied Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix and is working on her Masters of Law in Indigenous People’s Law from the University of Oklahoma. She brings twelve years of administrative experience to CILS. Passionate about Indian rights, working at CILS was a natural fit. In her free time, Davina enjoys spending time with her 15-year-old daughter Meah. She just recently started volunteering for Meals on Wheels.

Staff Attorney Position Available – Bishop 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.

The Bishop office of CILS is also home to the Eastern Sierra Legal Assistance Project (ESLAP) and the Inyo Mono Senior Legal Program (IMSLP). ESLAP provides brief services/referrals on general poverty law issues to low-income individuals in Inyo, Mono, and Alpine counties. IMSLP provides brief services/referrals on elder law issues to individuals age 60 years and over in Inyo and Mono counties. Currently, CILS operates four offices in California. Additional information about CILS may be found on our website, at

Job Description: 

This is a full-time position devoted to increasing and enhancing the legal services we provide to individuals with Indian law and non-Indian law issues, including general poverty law. Staff attorney will work with individuals, families, organizations and tribal governments in all areas of Federal Indian law, including but not limited to, advising on issues involving jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, cultural resource protection, Indian education, tribal governance, employment, tribal justice systems, and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Responsibilities may range from the provision of brief counsel and services to low-income Indian individuals to representing individuals and tribes in state and federal court, negotiating contracts, advising tribal clients and developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients.


* J.D. degree with exceptional academic achievement.

* California bar membership in good standing.

* Demonstrated knowledge of Federal Indian law with a minimum of three years experience practicing law.

* Excellent communication, writing and organizational skills

* Ability to work independently, as part of a team and to take initiative.

* A willingness to assume a varied caseload.

* 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 demonstrated commitment to providing high-quality legal services for Indian people.

The following qualifications are desirable but not absolutely required:

* Familiarity or experience working with Indian individuals, tribes or Indian communities.

* Prior legal services experience. CILS Bishop Staff Attorney Position (2017) – Page 2

* Prior supervisorial experience


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: Bishop Staff Attorney, 117 J Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814. E-mail We will accept applications until the position is filled. All applicants will be notified when a final hiring decision is made.