TRIBAL ALERT – Tribes Disqualified from ARP Public Safety and Justice Funding

To All Tribal Leaders;

The BIA is proposing to set aside $772.5 million dollars of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) appropriation for “public safety and justice (PSJ)”.  This set aside will be distributed “based on the existing allocation of base (reoccurring annual) funding level for OJS-funded, tribally operated, programs.”  This means the funding will be allocated to tribes based on their annual 638 contract funding levels for PSJ services which includes tribal courts and law enforcement.

Unfortunately, the BIA does not execute 638 contracts for PSJ funding to tribes in Public Law 280 states (except for Self-Governance tribes).  Since California is a Public Law 280 state, tribes do not have 638 contracts for PSJ funding and thus there is no “base (reoccurring annual) funding level” in which to allocate the $772.5 million to California Tribes.

CILS strongly encourages Tribes in their written comments to the BIA that it develop a fair and equitable funding formula for the distribution of the $772.5 million set aside so that California Tribes, and all tribes in Public Law 280 states, receive PSJ funding.

Written comments are due tomorrow Wednesday March 31, 2021 and should be sent to

If you have any questions, would like further information, or need assistance, please contact Dorothy Alther at

Attached is a sample letter.

Draft Comment Letter


TRIBAL ALERT: Tribal Letters of Support for Federal Legislation to Extend Coronavirus Relief Funds Deadline

Hopefully, you have received the email sent out today from the Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) urging you to send a letter of support for S. 4898. This new legislation will extend the period for all states, tribes, and territories to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund payments from December 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021. California Indian Legal Services strongly urges tribes to submit the letter of support for S. 4898 using the support letter template provided by NAFOA (download the letter here) or contact CILS for any assistance or questions you may have.

You can reach out to NAFOA’s Executive Director, Dante Desiderio, at or (202) 631-2003 or Mica Llerandi at Thank you.


Stay safe and healthy.

TRIBAL ALERT: Support the Governor Signing Important Native American Legislation

To All Tribal Leaders:

Governor Newsom has four (4) Native American bills on his desk that will:

  1. AB 275- Amends CA Native American Grace Protection and Repatriation Act;
  2. AB 2112- Create a statewide “Office of Suicide Prevention”;
  3. AB 2314- Increase Native American Voter Participation;
  4. AB 3099- Provide Public Law 280 training to state law enforcement and foster better coordination between tribal and state law enforcement.

The Governor needs to know NOW that there is tribal support for these important bills since the Governor may sign or devote the bills any day!

Assemblymember James Ramos’ (D-Dist. 40) (member of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians) website provides information on each bill, a sample letter of support can be downloaded, and the Governor’s email address. Please visit

Assemblymember Ramos and CILS thank you for your attention and support of these important new laws; if you have any questions, feel free to contact Assembly Member Ramos’ Chief of Staff Adriana Ruelas at 916-319-2040 or CILS’ Executive Director Dorothy Alther at

Stay safe and healthy.