Los Coyotes v ERTC Eviction Ruling

A victory in the Intertribal Court of Southern California

In a decision issued on February 2, 2012, the Intertribal Court of Southern California ruled in favor of the Los Coyotes Tribe in an eviction proceeding against the Eagle Rock Training Center (ERTC) regarding a disputed lease under which ERTC claimed to control a substantial portion of the Tribe’s Warner Springs Reservation. The Reservation, which covers 25,000 acres, is the largest in San Diego County and ERTC claimed permission to use a portion of it for artillary practice, weapons discharge, and military training, all of which inflicted a toll on tribal cultural sites, road access, grading of land, and created the potential for fire danger. The tribe’s General Council disputed the nature and extent of the use, and took issue with ERTC refusing to obtain tribal permits. In June 2011 Los Coyotes voted to exclude ERTC from the Reservation, and issued a Notice to Vacate. Again in September 2011, when ERTC had not vacated the Tribe served a notice of violation of Tribal laws, including environmental non-compliance, law and order violations, grading violations, and not allowing Tribal members access to their own Reservation. Since the alleged lease was never submitted or approved by the BIA, and  was not voted on by the General Council, the Tribe also took issue with any occupancy of its Indian lands based on an invalid lease.  California Indian Legal Services’ Mark Radoff represented the Tribe, in the eviction case, and is also representing the Tribe in an ongoing Federal Court case where ERTC is trying to enjoin the Tribe from enforcing its laws. That court’s preliminary ruling was that the “alleged” lease did not have a valid waiver of the the Tribe’s sovereign immunity, and was therefore unenforceable. A  motion to dismiss the Federal lawsuit is currently pending. The tribal court decision is great victory for tribal sovereignty.


In Memory of Friend & Colleague

Beth Wylie

July 8, 1963 – January 28, 2012

CILS is very saddened to share that former CILS Legal Assistant, Beth Wylie Gjerstad, passed away on January 28, 2012 after a long and hard-fought battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer.  Beth began her eight-year tenure with CILS in 2002 and departed in 2010 to devote her strength towards battling the disease. Her warm spirit and dedication to family and friends will always be a source of inspiration for all who knew Beth.  From her first day at CILS, when she wore her stunning navy blue suit, Beth carried herself with professionalism and consistently showed her enthusiasm for our Native client communities.  During her tenure at CILS, Beth assisted our Escondido Office attorneys on countless numbers of cases.  Happy to work behind the scenes Beth could always be counted on for a smile, even on those most difficult days. “During the most stressful times at the office, one smile from Beth and you knew things were going to get better,” remembers a co-worker.  While Beth resided in Southern California for many years, she was fiercely proud of her Seattle roots and had recently moved home to be near her family.  CILS Staff remembers her love of telling a good story, whether it was about her learning experiences at Shoreline Community College where she studied law enforcement, her take on a t.v. episode of Intervention, stories about her dog, Inga, or her latest attempted recipe.  As a single parent, Beth made innumerable sacrifices and always tried to improve as a parent.  She once wrote, “I don’t think my kids know how much I really love them and I want to be better at showing that.”  But her love and care, especially of her girls, was most evident.  Beth is survived by her daughters Becca and Sarah, her son Bryan and her grandson Bailey.  A memorial fund to support her daughters is being established in Beth’s honor.  Those who wish to make donations can contact Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas at delacruz@calindian.org.  A memorial service for Beth is currently being planned (details to be posted as appropriate).

BOE Regulations 1616

New BOE Regulations Apply Sales and Use Tax Exemptions to Landless Tribes


Recent amendments drafted by the State Board of Equalization (BOE), with comments and feedback from California Indian Legal Services and many tribes throughout the states, will allow federally recognized tribes to enjoy a broader exemption from sales and use taxes on personal tangible property. These amendments recognize the reality that not all federally recognized tribes in California have a land base.  The state of California will no longer treat federally recognized tribes without a land base differently than all other federally recognized tribes.

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the Board’s recent amendments to Sales and Use Tax Regulation 1616, Federal Areas on January 11, 2012 and the amended regulation was then filed with the California Secretary of State.  The amendments, which become effective February 10, 2012, add a new subdivision (d)(4)(G) to Regulation 1616 describing the circumstances under which sales of tangible personal property to and the use of tangible personal property by the governments of federally-recognized Indian tribes are exempt from California sales and use tax because the tax is preempted by federal law.

The BOE website page’s (www.boe.ca.gov) section containing sales and use tax regulations will be revised soon to include the amended regulation.  Until then, please visit the “pending revisions” currently listed next to Regulation 1616 to review the OAL amendments.  Publication 146, Sales to American Indians and Sales in Indian Country, will also be revised to incorporate the amendments.  The BOE’s American Indian Tribal Issues page can be found at www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/indianLandSales.htm.


ED’s Message 2012

Message from the Executive Director

Devon L. Lomayesva, Executive Director
With the arrival of 2012, CILS prepares to celebrate our 45th anniversary of service to the California Indian community.  With planning well under way, CILS is developing a 45th Anniversary Gala to commemorate the breadth and impact of our services to thousands of California natives and dozens of tribes and organizations over our proud history.  We have tentatively planned for a Fall 2012 event.  Please stay in touch with us for further details as they unfold.  CILS is on the web and Facebook

The new year also brings cuts to our core funding. The Legal Services Corporation has reduced our funding by nearly 15% and other funders are likely to follow. However, CILS is committed to maintaining our level of services and even hopes to increase services in certain areas. We have reached out to tribes and native organizations to develop partnerships that will bring in those needed resources.  CILS will continue to strive to diversify our funding and looks forward to much progress and success in the delivery of Indian legal services to California tribes, organizations, and individuals. CILS also plans to accomplish a comprehensive needs assessment of our tribal community to ensure we are delivering the types and levels of legal services needed most by our tribal communities. We look forward to a variety of tribal participation during this effort.

Thank you to everyone who supported our 2011 Fall Fundraising Campaign and 45th Anniversary planning campaign, to date.  It is never too late to support CILS. Please visit our website for more information on how to support CILS with a contribution.

A very happy and prosperous new year to our client community and supporters!


Rachel Joseph 2012

CILS Board of Trustees 2012

The new year begins with a new CILS Board Chair.  Rachel A. Joseph, was seated as the Chair on September 3, 2011.

Ms. Joseph is an enrolled member of the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe and served as the Tribe’s Chairwoman and Vice-Chairwoman.

Rachel is a retired lobbyist of the California Teachers Association; and, other employment included, American Indian Coordinator in the Office of the Governor; Executive Director for the California Urban Indian Health Council; Director of the Inter-Tribal Council of California Manpower Consortium (now California Indian Manpower Consortium); Director of Program Operations for the Inter-Tribal Council of California; and, Interim Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.  Rachel has had numerous political appointments including the Utah Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Rachel has received numerous awards and recognition which include the Civil Rights in Education Award (Leo Reano) from the National Education Association; Role Model (Women’s History Month) from the California State Legislature, the Jake White Crow Award from the National Indian Health Board and, in 2009, the Native American Leadership Award from the National Congress of American Indians.

Rachel graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a B.S. in Social Work and a minor in Psychology; and did extensive graduate study at BYU and in the College of Business at the University of Utah.  Rachel is the mother of a daughter and three sons; and, nine terrific grandchildren.