Our Fifth Decade of Advocacy and Counting!
Before California Indian Legal Services’ (CILS) inception legal representation for native americans and tribes was provided through California Rural Legal Services (CRLA). Over time the complexity and breadth of legal problems faced by California’s Native population compelled the formation of an Indian Services Division within CRLA to address these unique issues. In 1967 George Duke and a young Hoopa activist named David Risling incorporated CILS as a distinct program dedicated to Native American issues.
During the 1970s CILS expanded from just one office to field offices in Bishop, Escondido, Eureka, and Ukiah. CILS took on major issues impacting tribes and Native Americans such as: restoring reservation lands; quantifying tribes’ reserved water rights; obtaining equitable federal funding for California Tribes; litigating discrimination and civil rights, and fortifying tribal governments to name a few. At a time when the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as trustee for tribes, did not act, CILS served as a watchdog for California tribes. Legal support for tribes in drafting constitutions and ordinances was and is an ongoing component of protecting tribal sovereignty. CILS has produced some of the best Indian lawyers in California.
Through the 1980s CILS succeeded in protecting pristine and sacred forests for the Yurok, Karuk, Tolowa and Hoopa people. Through litigation and later negotiations, CILS restored over 30 tribes who had been terminated in the 1950s. The fruits of CILS’ efforts are seen today in thriving tribal communities that were once disbanded by federal authorities.
As tribal governments matured in the 1990s, a new era of economic development began. When former CILS attorneys participated in the landmark case Cabazon Band of Mission Indians v. California and successfully overturned California’s authority to regulate bingo on Indian reservations; it opened the door for tribes to develop gaming facilities and brought much-needed revenue their reservation. CILS negotiated some of the original compacts for tribes and developed the regulatory codes and framework needed for Indian gaming. As a result of gaming, many tribes today have become financially independent and less dependent on government funding. For tribes who continue to strive for economic independence, CILS continues to assist with low cost, quality legal services.
During the last ten years CILS has targeted specific work groups to address: Indian children welfare issues that includes state compliance with the Indian Child Welfare and Act (ICWA) and Indian education issues; trust asset protection through drafting of will that comply with the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) and protection of cultural resources; fiscal issues such as state taxation of individual’s income; and strengthening tribal governance through tribal court and law enforcement development. The success of these can be seen throughout California Indian Country. As leaders in the area of ICWA, CILS was instrumental in the passage of comprehensive state legislation (commonly known as SB 678) that extends federal ICWA protection to California’s Indian children. CILS drafted the original California Judge’s Benchguide in 2010 and updated it in 2012. With the trust asset protection working group, CILS was instrumental in obtaining provisions in the AIPRA that allows California Native Americans, regardless if they are members of a federally recognized tribe, to pass their allotments to their heirs by Will. CILS also remains at the forefront of assisting tribes in developing courts and law enforcement agencies by providing trainings, drafting codes and orchestrating statewide conferences.
CILS remains attuned to the changing needs of Native communities in California. Our four offices—Bishop, Escondido, Eureka, and Sacramento—serve all 58 counties in California. The majority of its Board of Trustees is comprised of California Native Americans.
Dorothy Alther – Legal Director, Escondido
Dorothy Alther was made the Executive Director of CILS in July 2013. Ms. Alther is the recipient of the national 2010 Pierce Hickerson Award which is granted to distinguished Indian legal services attorneys. She also received the “Outstanding Achievement in California Indian Law” award from the California Indian Lawyers Association in 2014. Dorothy has been an attorney with CILS since 1989 and has practiced Indian law since1985. Ms. Alther was in the Bishop CILS Office until she relocated to the Escondido Office in 2003. In addition to her executive and administrative duties, Ms. Alther maintains an active caseload serving as legal counsel for several Tribes and tribal entities. Her current work focuses on impact litigation on matters of federal Indian law as well as working directly with tribes on building tribal governmental infrastructure. Ms. Alther has assisted tribes with tribal court and law enforcement development, working with tribes on establishing or revising tribal governing documents and building tribal program law. Ms. Alther is also active in ensuring CILS is involved in state and federal issues impacting Tribes and tribal communities. This includes providing comments on behalf of the tribal client to pending state and federal rules or legislation, partnering with others and tribal coalitions to advance legislation or regulation to protect and enhance tribal governments and providing community information and awareness on critical issues impacting California tribes. Ms. Alther has been a trainer on Public Law 280, the Indian Child Welfare Act, Housing law, Tribal Law Enforcement, Building Tribal Courts, Tribal Law and Order Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and Cultural Resource Protection. Dorothy is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and graduated from the University of South Dakota and earned her J.D. from Northeastern University. Ms. Alther served as Managing Attorney at DNA’s People’s Legal Services in Crownpoint, New Mexico before coming to CILS and has acted as Tribal Attorney for the Suquamish Tribe in Washington.
Debra Avenmarg – Staff Attorney, Eureka
Debra Avenmarg joins CILS as a Staff Attorney in the Eureka office. She received her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2010 and received a B.S. in Business and B.A. in Economics from Humboldt State University in 2005. Debra joins CILS with years of Child Welfare experience from many different roles and perspectives. In 2005, she volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for three foster youth, which inspired her to go to law school and practice Child Welfare Law. Debra has experience supervising visitation and transporting youth while working for a Foster Family Agency (FFA). She has also been a foster parent. She has advocated in the County role, and she has also represented parents, guardians, children, and Non-minor dependents in Child Welfare proceedings. Debra has worked in Lassen County, Marin County, and Humboldt County. Debra is excited to now have the opportunity to represent tribes.
Denise H. Bareilles – Directing Attorney, Eureka
Denise Bareilles is the Directing Attorney at the Eureka office. Denise was born and raised in the U.S. Territory of Guam and moved to the states to attend law school at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. She graduated with a J.D. in 2004. Most of her legal career has been spent in Northern California where she currently resides with her husband and two young children. In her earlier years, she practiced in the areas of general civil litigation, insurance defense, probate, and estate planning. She worked for the Yurok Tribal Court from 2011 to 2017 and gained substantial experience in the areas of tribal court development, intergovernmental negotiations with county and state agencies, development and implementation of direct federal funding to tribal social services agencies under Title IV of the Social Security Act (which included development of the first tribal Title IV-D child support program in California), tribal code development, and the American Indian Probate and Reform Act. She is barred to practice law in the courts of the State of California, the U.S. Territory of Guam, and the Yurok Reservation.
Susan Platt Dalati – Staff Attorney, Escondido
Susan Platt Dalati began her legal career in 1988 as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu, Hawaii. During some of her time there she worked in the Domestic Violence Unit, Special Prosecution Division. Ms. Dalati has civil and family law experience. She has worked as a Court Liaison Officer for a police department and she has teaching experience. From 2002–2015, she worked at a local social service agency that assists victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. She provided direct legal services, managed a center in north county San Diego for more than three years, and supervised and mentored many advocates, attorneys, interns, support staff, and volunteers. Ms. Dalati has provided trainings on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to many agencies and organizations. She helped to develop the High-Risk Team meetings for the north county region of San Diego. These meetings are attended by many local agencies and community partners to rapidly help and assist victims/survivors who are deemed to be at high risk of lethality. She currently co-chairs the North County Domestic Violence Coalition.
Rami Djemal – Staff Attorney, Escondido
Rami Djemal is a part-time staff attorney in the Escondido office. Rami graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in New York in 2007. He began his legal career at JASA-Legal Services for the Elderly in Queens providing legal services to seniors who were victims of abuse. In 2013, Rami relocated to San Diego, California and began volunteering with several non-profit legal service agencies serving domestic violence survivors. At the same time, Rami started his own law practice, including providing lo bono and pro bono services to help domestic violence survivors to obtain restraining order, and with family law and other civil legal matters. In 2018, Rami started working with San Diego County Adult Protective Services managing a new pilot program serving seniors and dependent adults who were victims of a crime.
Michael Godbe – Directing Attorney, Bishop
Michael Godbe returned to CILS’ Bishop office in 2019 after clerking at the office five years earlier during law school. He currently serves as the Bishop Office’s Directing Attorney, overseeing the Eastern Sierra Legal Assistance Program, the Inyo-Mono Senior Legal Program, and all the Office’s Homelessness Prevention / Eviction Defense work – in addition to the Office’s core federal Indian law work. Prior to joining CILS, he practiced law in Wisconsin, protecting employees from discrimination and wrongful termination, and representing consumers experiencing abusive debt collection and false advertising. He received his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and his B.A. in History from Vassar College. Attorney Godbe is a member of the National Lawyers Guild, the oldest progressive bar association and the first to integrate its ranks. In 2021, Mike joined the boards of the Eastern Sierra Continuum of Care (https://www.easternsierracoc.org/) and the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC) (https://www.laaconline.org/). When not working, he enjoys hiking, gardening, spending time with his wife, dog, and two large cats, turning wooden bowls on his lathe, and making laser-cut wooden jewelry.
Michelle Krieger – Staff Attorney, Eureka
Michelle Krieger joins CILS as a staff attorney in the Eureka Office. She first moved to Humboldt County to attend Humboldt State and fell in love with the area. She graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland in 2000 and 2004 moved back to Humboldt County and took a job as a law clerk with the Hoopa Valley Tribal Court. Michelle worked with tribal courts for more than 18 years and was appointed an associate judge with the Hoopa Court in 2010, then a pro tem judge for the Karuk Tribe in 2011. Her experience as a tribal court judge, which includes hearing cases for the Yurok and Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Courts, focused her on the needs of the people who use the courts. The heavy toll of domestic violence on tribal families became all too clear over the years of working in Tribal Courts. This led Michelle to shift her focus to victim services work beginning in 2020. Prior to working with tribal courts, Michelle gained experience in consumer law and criminal law. She loves the Humboldt area and enjoys spending time with her first grandchild.
Rachel Leiterman – Staff Attorney, Bishop
Rachel Leiterman joined the Bishop office as a housing attorney in early 2022. Rachel graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law and was admitted to the California Bar in 1999. Rachel spent 19 years in private practice as an Intellectual Property attorney specializing in the prosecution of patents on III-V semiconductors. Rachel wound down her Intellectual Property practice in 2018 and went to work for the Inyo National Forest as a wilderness ranger. Rachel joined CILS in early 2022 with a desire to return to practicing law, this time with a focus on helping historically underserved people.
Kia Murdoch – Directing Attorney, Sacramento
Kia Murdoch was promoted to Sacramento Directing Attorney in August of 2022. She is a rising star who has a proven commitment to CILS through the many changes in Sacramento. She is a high performing attorney and carrying a large case load. Kia graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 2017 and earned her B.A. degree from the University of Wyoming in 2014. During law school, she clerked with the Oregon Department of Justice in the Child Dependency Section. She also worked for SOAR Immigration Legal Services, a legal aid organization in Portland, Oregon. Kia moved to California in 2017 and worked at a corporate immigration firm prior to passing the California Bar. Kia is an active volunteer in environmental advocacy, particularly regarding the preservation of California’s forests.
Laura Pedicini – Staff Attorney, Sacramento
Laura has been practicing law in California for more than 20 years. Laura brings a wealth of experience relevant to CILS’ work, including but not limited to: juvenile dependency, legal aid, appellate, and Judicial Council of California experience. She continues to work as an adjunct instructor for Santa Rosa Junior College, where she has taught Legal Professions, Legal Writing, Contracts, Torts and other classes in the paralegal program since 2017. During law school, Laura was a law clerk for CILS when the Sacramento office was based in Oakland, overlapping with our own Jay Petersen’s tenure as Directing Attorney. Laura never forgot her time as a law clerk with CILS, and is excited to be joining us full time at this point in her career.
Jay Petersen – Senior Staff Attorney, Sacramento
Jay Petersen is a career legal services Attorney who started practice on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota where he worked as Reginald Heber Smith Community Law Fellow. Over his 20 year career with CILS, he has worked in the Bishop and Oakland offices. In Oakland, he worked as Directing Attorney. His caseloads have covered a wide range of issues that include non-profit representation, Native religious practices, legislative political restoration, un-termination litigation, access to trust land issues, habeas corpus, federal recognition, ICWA, and public benefits. He is active in the volunteer community and has worked on non-profit housing, domestic violence prevention, and recovery program boards. Jay recently earned a master’s degree in political science.
Sheila Quinlan – Staff Attorney, Escondido
Sheila Quinlan joined CILS in 2021. She clerked for CILS’s Oakland office in 2003 as a law student and sat on the CILS Board of Directors from 2013-2019. In 2003, she graduated with a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law. In 1996, she earned her BA from UC Berkeley in Anthropology and Women’s Studies. Sheila worked for five years as a public defender in Riverside County, handling various cases and representing clients at dozens of jury trials. She spent nine years as an appellate attorney, representing state-appointed criminal defendants in the state courts. She enjoys getting outside to hike, camp, and backpack with her family in her spare time.
Hannah Reed – Staff Attorney, Escondido
Hannah Reed joined California Indian Legal Services as a Staff Attorney in 2022. Hannah is originally from Indiana, where she attended Purdue University (B.A., 2015) and Indiana University McKinney School of Law (J.D., 2018). While in law school, Hannah served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Indiana Health Law Review and was a Pro Bono Gold Level Volunteer (contributor of over 200 pro bono hours). She moved to California and passed the California Bar Exam in 2018. Prior to joining CILS, Hannah worked as an associate attorney at Gordon Rees Scully & Mansukhani’s Oakland office, where she practiced toxic tort litigation. Hannah also worked as an Associate County Counsel at the Alameda County Counsel’s Office where she gained experience in juvenile dependency, guardianship, and landlord-tenant law. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys reading, going to the beach, and exploring San Diego County with her dog and fiancé.
Lauren Ryerson – Staff Attorney, Bishop
Lauren Ryerson joined the Bishop field office from Mammoth Lakes, where she maintains a criminal defense practice. Prior to moving to Mammoth, Lauren was a public defender in San Francisco where she tried over 25 cases to verdict and developed a client centered practice. Lauren graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Science dual degree in Environmental Science and International Affairs, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law. During law school, Lauren interned at the Santa Barbara Public Defender’s Office and the California Supreme Court for Justice Ming Chin. She went to Geneva, Switzerland to the United Nations to lobby for higher international standards for juveniles involved in the criminal justice system.
Tristan Stidham – Staff Attorney, Bishop
Tristan Stidham joined the Bishop office in the Summer of 2022 from Sonoma County, where he had been doing his post-bar at the District Attorney’s Office. Prior to relocating to Sonoma County, Tristan was a law student at the University of San Diego, where he was a member of the Mock Trial team and volunteered at San Diego Legal Aid’s Domestic Violence Clinic and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Tristan graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a concentration in History. He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with concentrations in Public Interest and Criminal Law. Tristan received his license to practice law in California in May of 2022. He is a member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe and has spent much of his life in the Owens Valley.
Mark Vezzola – Directing Attorney, Escondido
Mark Vezzola joined California Indian Legal Services as a Staff Attorney in 2009. Originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Mark graduated from UMass-Amherst in 2000 and moved to California in 2001 to study Indian law at UCLA where he earned his J.D. and M.A. in American Indian Studies. While in law school, Mark clerked for the Hopi Appellate Court in Keams Canyon, Arizona, the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., and CILS during the summer of 2004. Upon passing the California bar exam, Mark worked as a litigator with Callahan, McCune & Willis, APLC, in downtown San Diego before returning to CILS. Aside from practicing law, Mark is an adjunct professor of history at San Diego Mesa College and American Indian Studies at Palomar College in San Marcos. He has published several articles and book chapters on the constitutional rights of incarcerated Native Americans to practice their religion as well as the issue of same-sex marriage in Native communities. Mark has served on the Board of Directors of the California Indian Law Association and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program.
Estrella Acosta – Intake Advocate, Eureka
Estrella Acosta received her paralegal certificate from San Francisco State University and has a Bachelor’s degree in English with a publishing minor from Lewis and Clark State College. She has over a decade of administrative experience working with small, mission-driven non-profits and is thrilled to now be working in the legal field.
Rachel Bilodeau – Legal Secretary, Escondido
Rachel Bilodeau graduated college in 2009 with her BA in Criminal Justice and minor in Political Science. In 2011 she received her Paralegal Certificate from USD. She started at CILS in 2010 as the ICAN Tax Assistant where she did taxes for three years. In 2012 after the tax program ended Rachel left CILS to get married and explore other options. After staying home with her kids for the past two years, Rachel came back part-time as the Legal Assistant for the Escondido office.
Jacklyn Bryan – Advocate, Bishop
Jacklyn Bryan joined CILS in 2021 as an Advocate, J.D. for the Bishop office. She returned home to the Bishop area in 2019 after an educational endeavor took her across the country and back. Jacklyn received her J.D. from Vermont Law School in 2017 and subsequently accepted a two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship in Madison, Wisconsin. There she worked with Wisconsin tribes, organizations, and agencies in their efforts to protect Tribes’ water resources. As a member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, Jacklyn is excited to return home and use her skills and training to give back to her community. When not working, Jacklyn enjoys quality time with her husband and young children.
Ana Castrellon – Principal Office Coordinator, Sacramento
Ana Castrellon started with CILS in the winter of 2022 as the Principal Office Coordinator. She has over 5 years of nonprofit experience working directly in underserved and marginalized communities. From advocating for low wage workers in labor law claims to supporting justice-impacted individuals with record expungement, she brings a wealth and diversity of knowledge. She received a degree in Criminal Justice from CSU Sacramento. In her free time, she enjoys caring for her plants and playing with her two dogs.
Elizabeth Cooley – Executive Coordinator, Sacramento
Elizabeth Cooley was promoted from Sacramento Field Office Legal Administrative Assistant to Principal Office Executive Coordinator. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with minors in English and Political Science. In 2022, she received certificates in Paralegal Studies and Human Resources Management. She is passionate about equality in politics and helping others. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with her two dogs.
Julia Coukoulis – Intake Advocate, Sacramento
Julia Coukoulis joined CILS in 2022 as the Intake Advocate for the Sacramento office. She is a member of the Blackfeet Nation, one of the 10 largest tribes in the United States. Julia was educated in Sacramento, California, where she received an A.A. in Language Studies. She has more than 4 years of legal experience, ranging from trial work to U.S. Supreme Court filings. Most recently, she was a paralegal working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. In her spare time, Julia enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and sweet pup named Rocky.
Melinda Dougherty-Cooling – Director of Grants & Compliance, Sacramento
Melinda Dougherty-Cooling was hired in the fall of 2022 as CILS’ first ever Director of Grants & Compliance. She is a native Californian, born and raised in the Napa Valley. Her experience includes 15+ years in nonprofit program and grant management, creating training programs, and building community collaborations. Additional experience includes working with families in high conflict disputes over custody, with the goal of bringing families together to co-parent effectively. She studied at the University of Phoenix and currently is wrapping up my degree at Yavapai College in Legal Paraprofessional studies. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, writing, photography and traveling.
Tara Edmiston – Legal Director Executive Assistant, Escondido
Tara Edmiston is the Legal/Administrative Assistant to the Legal Director and Controller and program-wide Billing Manager. She started at CILS in 2001 as a Legal Secretary in the Escondido field office. Tara has over thirty-five years of legal assistant experience in a wide range of practice areas and as a law office administrator. When not working Tara enjoys spending time with her husband and dogs.
Leann Ferry – Director of Administration, Sacramento
Leann Ferry joined CILS in October 2021 as Director of Administration. She works closely with the Executive Director and other program staff assisting with grant and financial compliance, management, and the overall administration of CILS.
Leann brings over 20 years of professional experience to CILS, including paralegal work on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, community work involving Native Alaskan organizations and villages, project management, leadership training and development, and Executive leadership coaching. The thread knitting all her years of work together is a personal and professional mission to help people strengthen their voices and influence decisions that affect their lives, communities, and organizations.
Leann is a 4th generation Sacramento Californian. She received her BA in Biological Sciences from UC Davis and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She is an International Coach Federation credentialed Executive Leadership Coach.
Anneliese Gaughan – Legal Administrative Assistant, Sacramento
Anneliese Gaughan joined CILS in 2022 as a Legal Administrative Assistant in the Sacramento Office. Prior to that, she worked as a Legal Assistant within criminal and family law at a private firm. Anneliese is also a member of the Chickasaw Nation Native American tribe, located in Oklahoma. Anneliese holds the values of historic preservation, along with the protection of Native American tribal rights, near and dear. Honoring the Chickasaw Nation’s heritage and work ethic, Anneliese is committed to ensuring CILS clients receive quality representation and resources using her acquired experience in legal compliance and procedures.
Jason Golfinos – Harvard Public Service Venture Fund Fellow, Sacramento
Jason Golfinos has joined our Sacramento office as a Harvard Public Service Venture Fund Fellow and will be with us full-time for 12 months. Jason earned his JD from Harvard University, has a Master’s Degree from the University of Cambridge, and earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Jason has experience with veteran discharge cases through his work at a Harvard legal clinic. Jason will focus on our Veterans Project. A fun fact about Jason: to the chagrin of his Greek family and friends, he knows Ancient Greek far better than modern Greek.
Heather Hostler – Executive Director, Sacramento
Heather Hostler is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe located in far northern California and the Executive Director for the California Indian Legal Services (CILS). She has an extensive background working in the California Executive Branch as a gubernatorial appointee under two Administrations. Governor Brown appointed Ms. Hostler in 2012 to serve as Chief Deputy Tribal Advisor, working with the first Tribal Advisor to implement Executive Order B-10-11. As a team, they supported state agencies and departments in creating Tribal Consultation Policies, developing Tribal Liaison positions, resolving issues at a government-to-government level, and advised department and agency leadership on policies and regulations that impacted tribal communities.
In 2019 Ms. Hostler was appointed by Governor Newsom as the first Director of Tribal Affairs for the California Department of Social Services. She was the visionary leader who established the Office of Tribal Affairs (OTA). She is a dynamic change-maker, and her leadership resulted in the integration of Tribal impact considerations in policies, regulations, and legislation. OTA serves as a model for state agencies to create more equitable government systems grounded in Tribal Consultation and government-to-government working relationships.
Prior to her work in Sacramento, she had the benefit of working for her Tribe and serving as a Program Officer for the Humboldt Area Foundation, where she was able to support grassroots movements, community organizing, and important regional collaborations. Ms. Hostler received her BA in Native American Studies: Law and Government from Humboldt State University and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni in 2016.
Laura Janoff – Advocate, Bishop
Laura Janoff has lived in the Eastern Sierra for thirty-six years, moving to Bishop, California, in April of 2020. In May of 2021, she graduated from Cerro Coso Community College with an Associate of Science degree in Paralegal Studies. Since then, she has also become a California commissioned Notary Public and licensed in Inyo County as a Legal Document Assistant. She is eager to use her new skills and begin a second career in legal advocacy for underserved populations at the Bishop office of California Indian Legal Services. In her spare time, she works in her garden, enjoys cooking and quilt making.
Summer Morales – Advocate, Escondido
Summer Morales is a member of the La Jolla Band of Mission Indians and has worked for CILS since 2000. She began working as an administrative assistant in the Escondido field office supporting attorneys and other staff in all aspects of administrative duties including assisting with CILS’ fundraising events. Starting in May 2008, Summer worked as the Principal Office’s Executive Assistant and in spring 2013 returned to the Escondido field office as an intake advocate.
Yvette Morales – Legal Advocate, Escondido
Yvette Morales has more than nine years of experience in frontline client advocacy work. Her passion for working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking began when she volunteered at the Family Justice Center in 2009 and studied the human services profession in school. Ms. Morales started her career in the Legal and Advocacy Services Division of a social service agency in San Diego County in 2012 as the Administrative Assistant. She was promoted to Bilingual Legal Advocate in 2014. Along with having direct experience in abuse prevention, she is Domestic Violence, and Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention trained, Jaqueline Campbell’s Danger Assessment Certified, Runaway Girl’s CSEC “CPR” Community Protocol for response trained, and CORI trained. She participates in the San Diego County High-Risk Team meetings, the North County Domestic Violence Coalition, the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and is a member of the Riverside County Tribal Alliance Domestic Violence Sub-Committee Workgroup.
Sierra Parker – Domestic Violence Advocate, Eureka
Sierra Parker is the Domestic Violence Advocate in the Eureka Field Office. Sierra grew up in Humboldt County and left in 2017 to earn her BA in Sociology and Feminist Studies by 2020. Returning to Humboldt, Sierra is interested in learning more about the intersection of the law and domestic violence, and looks forward to supporting and advocating for clients with CILS. In her free time, Sierra enjoys painting and sculpting.
Aja Sazama – Administrative Assistant, Eureka
Aja Sazama is a Legal/Administrative Assistant in the Eureka office. The last twelve years she worked with El Dorado County Dept of Child Support as their Tribal Liaison and a supervising child support specialist over the establishment and legal teams. As the liaison, she worked with Shingle Springs Rancheria Tribal TANF program to develop both a memorandum of understanding and a collaborative data sharing case management process. She also worked with Shingle Springs Tribal Court to register child support orders for enforcement and represented child support for their Family Wellness Court meetings. During this time, she gained experience navigating the relationship between Title IV-A, B, D, and E Social Security programs administered in California as well as initiating several collaborative projects between Human Services, Child Protective Services, and Child Support. She attended the University of Montana, Missoula, and earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Native American Studies and Geography in 2007. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, and being in the ocean.
Michael Selland – Controller, Sacramento
Michael Selland started in September 2022 as the new Controller. Michael has over 20 years of experience in Finance and Accounting in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He comes to CILS after spending the past year at ACC Senior Services in Sacramento where he provided leadership and oversight of the Finance Team. Prior to joining ACC he was the Controller of the Agency on Aging\Area 4, serving the needs of older adults throughout the Northern California area. Michael believes that numbers tell a story and that properly interpreting them helps you make better decisions. He holds a BS in Business Administration with an Accountancy specialization from CSU Sacramento and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Our Board Of Trustees
MARK ROMERO – Board Chairperson, Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians
JOE AYALA – Board Vice-Chairperson, State Bar Appointee
MERCEDES AMAVISCA – Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians
ANDRÉ CRAMBLIT – Karuk Tribe of California
ROBERT GONZALEZ – State Bar Appointee
JESSICA GOODROW – Round Valley Indian Tribes
JOHN HUESTON – State Bar Appointee
MERRI LOPEZ-KEIFER – San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians
VICTORIO SHAW – Hoopa Valley Tribe
The California Indian Legal Services Board of Trustees meets four times a year.
Click here for more information about upcoming meetings.
Click here for information about joining the Board of Trustees as a community representative.
Click here for information about joining the Board of Trustees as a California State Bar appointee.
THE ADVISORY BOARD OF CILS NEEDS YOU!
The Advisory Board support CILS’ Board of Trustees and Staff by enhancing awareness of CILS’ mission, striving to increase community involvement, and engaging in fundraising efforts to support our programs and services. If you’re looking for leadership or networking opportunities, membership on the Advisory Board is a great way to get started!
Advisory Board members encourage charitable giving to CILS by overseeing the Annual Campaign for Justice, the primary fundraising vehicle of the Advisory Board. We are looking for people who can provide insight into marketplace trends, make introductions, facilitate funding, and suggest alliances. Our Advisory Board benefit from networking, sharing, learning, and shaping something that has enormous potential. It’s a chance to give back, feel appreciated, and get recognized.
Support From Many Sources
CILS receives financial support from individuals, corporations, foundations, government agencies, and tribal organizations. CILS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so contributions are tax-deductible. Fee arrangements are negotiated with clients having the ability to pay.
CILS is an established non-profit organization with over five decades of experience in grants management and accounting in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards. Each year, CILS has an audit performed by a firm of certified public accountants to ensure accountability in fiscal matters. Harrington Group has performed the annual audits for the past several years and submits its reports to the CILS Board of Trustees.
Jan. 2021 – Dec. 2021 990 Form
Jan. 2020 – Dec. 2020 990 Form
Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2019 990 Form
Jan. 2018 – Dec. 2018 990 Form
Jan. 2017 – Dec. 2017 990 Form
Jan. 2016 – Dec. 2016 990 Form
Jan. 2015 – Dec. 2015 990 Form
July 2014 – Dec. 2014 990 Form
July 2013 – June 2014 990 Form
July 2012 – June 2013 990 Form
Our Annual Report contains detailed information on all CILS activities and programs, a treasurer’s report, and acknowledgment of contributions. CILS distributes the Annual Report to foundations, major contributors, certain federal and state agencies, tribes, Native American organizations, and to others upon request.
Our quarterly newsletters contain articles on CILS activities and programs. CILS distributes these newsletters electronically to our email list of foundations, major contributors, federal and state agencies, tribes, Native American organizations, and to others upon request. Add yourself to the list here.
Employment: Vacancy Announcements
JOIN OUR TEAM:
- Bishop Office – Changelawyers Fellowship – Summer / Fall 2023
- Escondido Office – None at this time
- Eureka Office – None at this time
- Sacramento Office – None at this time