Conference Call re Supreme Court ICWA Case

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, Birth Father, and Cherokee Nation

On January 4th, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, Birth Father, and Cherokee Nation.

The South Carolina Supreme Court gave custody of Baby Girl to her non-custodial Indian father after her biological mother consented to adoption by a non-Indian couple without disclosing the child’s Cherokee heritage, which would have invoked the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

At stake in the U.S. Supreme Court’s review is: 1) whether a non-custodial Indian parent can invoke the ICWA to block an adoption that was voluntarily and lawfully initiated by a non-Indian parent under state law, and 2) whether the ICWA defines “parent” to include an unwed biological Indian father who has not complied with state law rules to attain legal status as a parent.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case could adversely impact every tribe in the United States on how future decisions are made by state courts regarding placement of Indian children in cases where the ICWA applies (juvenile, dependency, guardianship, adoption, etc.).

Conference Call January 15th

California Indian Legal Services is hosting a conference call on Tuesday, January 15th at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) to discuss the case. The call-in number and access code to participate are: (712) 432-0600; access code 69255#.

Please contact Delia Parr ( / 707-443-8397), Dorothy Alther ( / 760-746-8941) or your local CILS office.

For a .pdf copy of this Tribal Alert, click here.

Trust land leasing regulations

New trust land leasing regulations effective January 4, 2013

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published new regulations clarifying the BIA’s role in certain leases on Indian trust land, effective January 4, 2013. This will affect all Indian trust land, both tribal and individually held lands. The new regulations apply to all current and pending residential, business, and Wind and Solar Resource leases.  Read more about the new regulations in our Tribal Alert!

2012. A year in review

CILS Annual Report 2011-2012

As we end 2012 please take a moment to review some of the CILS milestones in our Annual Report. From our court victories and case settlements to our 45th Anniversary Gala, 2012 held many good things for CILS. As we look to the new year, we wish you all a happy 2013.


CILS article in Riverside Lawyer Magazine

What is Indian Legal Services?

The Riverside County Bar Association explores Indian law issues in this volume which features an article by CILS Executive Director, Devon Lomayesva. The article provides a description of the issues currently at the forefront of CILS work.  “What is Indian Legal Services? This is the question I am most often asked after I tell people I work at California Indian Legal Services (CILS). It is difficult to respond briefly, as there is much history behind the creation of Indian legal services, not to mention the 45 years of history behind CILS…”

Read the full article.


Giving Tuesday

Please consider making a donation to CILS

By providing a gift to CILS you help continue the work begun over 45 years ago to prioritize the fundamental legal needs of the California Tribal communities, including the protection of cultural and sacred places, protection of Indian children, the restoration and protection of tribal lands, and more.  Please remember CILS on Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season. All donations are tax deductible.  Online donations accepted through