FTB Tribal Leaders Consultation Report Now Available

On September 18, 2013 the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) held a tribal leaders consultation session. Seven tribes, CILS and two representatives of tribal members’ interests provided comments. The FTB Tribal Consultation Session Report is now posted on the FTB website.

In Memoriam of a CILS Colleague

Charlene “Char” Betsillie

March 10, 1945 – August 7, 2014

“During the most difficult times in Indian Country or just the office, Char was always so reassuring that we are fighting the good fight and that we will prevail to make a significant difference for all Native people despite the obstacles in our way. She had a way of calming you even if you were ready to cry or punch the wall,” remembers a co-worker.

CILS is saddened to share that former CILS Administrator, Charlene Roubidoux Betsillie, passed away on August 7, 2014. Charlene began her nearly thirty-year tenure with CILS in April of 1972 and retired in 2004. Her cheerful personality and dedication to family and the Indian community will always be a source of inspiration for all who knew Char. During her tenure at CILS, Char assisted our former Oakland Office attorneys in providing services to the Indian community at a time when no other law firms practiced Indian law. She also provided support to the then long-time Executive Director and all CILS staff on administrative and personnel matters. She was a sweet person, always pleasant and positive to be around. CILS staff remembers her love of giving back to the Native community and her dedication to her daughter and grandchildren. She would drive hundreds of miles to participate in her Tribe’s activities; ceremonial and political. Char’s contributions to the Native community are too many to list, but here are a few:

  • Served on the editorial committee for the book Urban Voices:
    The Bay Area American Indian Community;
  • Served at the Corporate Secretary to CILS Board of Trustees for 18 years;
  • Served as the Oakland & Central Office (Principal office) Manager for 15 years;
  • Operated as CILS’ one-person payroll and human resources departments during the 1970’s and 1980’s;
  • Volunteered at the Friendship House Association of American Indian, Inc. in San Francisco;
  • Competed in tribal beauty pageants during her youth.

While Char resided in the Bay Area for many years, she was proud of her Tribal heritage and had moved home to be with her family near the Yurok Reservation in recent years. Char holds a special place at CILS and in the hearts of many. She was an incredible woman and will be missed dearly.

Tmohkelee’ ‘ne-chekws. – Our heart is broken.

CILS Board Members and Staff Attend YRTC Groundbreaking Ceremony

CILS Board Chair Rachel Joseph and Vice-Chair Mark Romero (Chairman of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians), participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Youth Regional Treatment Center (YRTC) in Hemet, California, on July 31, 2014. Mark Vezzola, Directing Attorney of CILS’ Escondido office, also attended the event. The ceremony marked the culmination of decades of work and lobbying on the part of local tribal leaders and Native organizations to address the health needs of Native youth.

Tribes and the federal government operate 10 YRTCs across the country. Each center receives funding from the Indian Health Service to address mental health and substance abuse issues facing American Indian and Alaska Native youth in that area. By using culture-based programs and educational activities, YRTCs aims to help young people overcome challenges so they can become community leaders and role models for future generations. Services include clinical evaluations, counseling, group, individual and family psychotherapy, life skills training, medication management and monitoring, relapse prevention, and post treatment follow up.

Groundbreaking Chairman Romero

Chairman Mark Romero, Mesa








Grande Band of Mission Indians & CILS Board Vice-Chairman

Despite a growing need, there were no YRTCs in the California Area of the Indian Health Service until now. Funding and property have been secured however to build two YRTCs in the state, one in Hemet and another in Yolo County in northern California.

Groundbreaking IHS Rendering

Rendering of future YRTC