Escondido, CA – December 8, 2015: The CILS Board of Trustees, elected Mark Romero, a member and past Chairman of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, as its new Chairman and Victorio Shaw, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and currently the California Tribal College Project Strategist for Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation as its new Vice Chairman.

“We are pleased and honored to have Mark’s and Victorio’s continued leadership and support on the CILS Board,” said Dorothy Alther, Executive Director of CILS. “The dedication and commitment of such prominent members of California Indian Country enable CILS to continue to serve all California Indian communities.”

The Board also seated two new Board members, Joe Ayala and Jessica Warner. Mr. Ayala is the Principal Deputy Legislative Counsel for the State of California, and comes to the Board as a State Bar representative. Ms. Warne, Principal of the Law Offices of Jessica Warne and former CILS law clerk, takes her seat as a community representative.

The members of the Board of Trustees play an integral role in ensuring the long-term sustainability and growth of CILS. For a full Board of Trustees list and additional information about CILS, visit

About CILS:
California Indian Legal Services is one of the oldest non-profit law firms in the country and largest in California that is devoted exclusively to the causes of Native American rights. CILS maintains four offices statewide and has been in operation for 48 years. CILS represents California Tribes, tribal organizations, and low-income individuals on matters of Indian law. For more information, please visit

KCRS was awarded the “Outstanding Achievement in California Indian Law Award”.

Celebration photo of Steve Banegas, Spokesperson for Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee and Paul Cuero Vice Spokesperson and Dorothy Alther, Executive Director at California Indian Legal Services at the California Indian Law Association’s 15th Annual Indian Law Conference & Gala on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at the Jackson Rancheria Resort Casino in Jackson, California. KCRS was awarded the “Outstanding Achievement in California Indian Law Award”.
Congratulations to KCRC!

Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee

Balancing tribal sovereignty with rights of workers article

CILS’s Mark Vezzola, Escondido office Directing Attorney, wrote a guest column for San Francisco Daily Journal titled “Balancing tribal sovereignty with rights of workers.” Mark’s article outlines how a proposed amendment to the National Labor Relations Act could change labor law in Indian country. A very good read. Article here.

Important Tribal Water Rights Case Needs Your Support

Attached is a summary of a water rights case involving the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians that is pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The summary will provide you an overview of the case and what actions you can take to support not only the Agua Caliente Band but tribal water rights in California. Thank you for your support.