Proudly Californian.
Proudly Native.
Proudly Serving.

We are committed to securing justice for California’s Tribal peoples by protecting and advancing Indian rights, self-determination, and tribal nation-building.

I Am An Individual and Seeking Legal Services.

I Am Affiliated With Or Represent A Tribe Seeking Legal Services.

I Am Seeking Community Education Materials Or Services From CILS.

Serving California
Communities Since 1967

Founded in 1967, CILS formed during a time when the country was in the early stages of a powerful social and political movement for the rights of Native Americans. Combining the leadership of then-director of California Rural Legal Assistance, George Duke, and an inspired David Risling of the Hoopa Tribe CILS established itself and its mission to protect the rights and interests of Native Americans.

A Service for
Every Need

We offer free or low-cost representation to both Native individuals and tribes in matters of federal Indian law, as well as several special projects outside our traditional practice areas. Additionally, we provide community education and outreach on topics focused at improving the lives of Natives, strengthening tribal governments, and more.

Meeting You
Where You Are

With offices in Bishop, Escondido, McKinleyville and Sacramento, we are able to offer comprehensive services to individuals and tribes in every California county. Each of our offices work closely with the individuals and tribes in their respective service areas to build relations and nourish cultures.

Southern Office

Northern Office

Central Office

Eastern Office

Our Major Initiatives


We are dedicated to ensuring that the housing rights of California residents are protected and respected. See if you qualify for these services.
In order to better ensure California Tribes’ ability to understand and assert their water rights in the state, we performed a comprehensive assessment on their behalf.

Water Study

Military Discharge
Upgrade Project


If you or someone you know is a Native Veteran with a less-than-honorable discharge status, we may be able to assist with upgrading your status and securing benefits.

In 2022, We Dedicated 34,799 Hours To Advocating On Behalf Of Native California

Supporting Our Mission of Service

For more than five decades, CILS has provided legal assistance to California’s tribes, organizations, and people when they needed it most. We have successfully left our mark in defending the most important rights of Indians and tribes in hundreds of major cases. We invite you to participate in this tradition by contributing to CILS. With your support, CILS can continue to make justice possible for tribal communities.

For Additional
Needs & Questions

Other Legal Resources

While we can’t take on every case, we can provide high-quality referrals for cases outside of our specialties. Contact your local field office for a referral from our network of partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Refer to our Frequently Asked Questions section to access comprehensive information regarding federal Indian Law and our policies and services.

We Take Our Responsibility Seriously

Chairman Greg Sarris

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

“California Indian Legal Services was at the rebirth of our Nation. In fact, continuing this analogy, you might think of them as the co-midwife. With CILS we authored the bill that was eventually passed and signed by President Clinton on December 27, 2000 that recognized the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria as a federally recognized tribe again. They were with us hand in hand in this long 8-year struggle. Many, many thanks.”