On September 7, 2021, CILS will be welcoming a new Executive Director, Heather Hostler, working in our Sacramento Office. For my part, I will be remaining in our Escondido Office in my new role as CILS Legal Director. While organizational change can be hard and challenging, it can also bring new ideas, energy, and improvements to an organization. CILS has been my home for over 30 years, and I am confident that Heather, with my full support and that of staff, can enhance CILS and keep it the premier non-profit Indian law firm it has always been.

I am looking forward to my new role as Legal Director, which will allow me to devote all my attention to being an Indian law lawyer once again and working more closely with our great team of CILS attorneys and advocates. Doing Indian law and representing Native American individuals and tribes has been my passion for the 36 years of being an attorney. It was an honor and a privilege to be the Executive Director of CILS for the last eight years. Still, I am looking forward to my new position and contributing to the legal program that I love and the communities we serve.

Welcome, Heather, and this new chapter at CILS.

With appreciation,
Dorothy Alther
CILS Executive Director

California Indian Legal Services Announces Heather Hostler as Next Executive Director

SACRAMENTO, CA, August 30, 2021 – The Board of Trustees of California Indian Legal Services is honored to announce that it has selected the California Department of Social Services Office of Tribal Affairs Director Heather Hostler to be CILS’ next Executive Director. Heather will succeed current CILS Executive Director Dorothy Alther.

“It is my pleasure to announce that the CILS Board of Trustees has hired the new Executive Director, Heather Hostler. She will be the ED beginning September 7, 2021. Heather has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University and over twenty years experience working with tribal governments,” said Mark Romero, Board Chair of California Indian Legal Services. “Let’s all welcome her and work with her towards a bright future for CILS.”

Heather has garnered an outstanding reputation as a passionate advocate and positive change maker for Native Americans in California in her current role as Director of the Office of Tribal Affairs in the California Department of Social Services. Before that, she was the Chief Deputy Tribal Advisor to the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown. She served as the Native American Liaison at the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and the Program Manager for Grants and Scholarships at the Humboldt Area Foundation. She also served as the Executive Administrator for the Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman. She began her career at Native Cultures Fund and North Coast Cultural Trust and currently serves on the Tribal Court State Court Forum.

“I am excited to start my new chapter of leading CILS,” said Heather Hostler. “As someone who grew up on the Hoopa Valley tribal village of Tak’mil-ding, I have a deep appreciation for the interconnected struggles of Native American families and a personal connection to their struggle for racial, economic, and environmental justice. Today, Native Americans are on the frontline of democracy reform, and legal aids like CILS will continue to lead the charge for every major social issue for their communities. CILS will continue the fight for a fairer, more just society, every day, for as long as it takes—just like they have always done for over fifty years.”

“I am delighted that the board has selected Heather Hostler as CILS’s next Executive Director. The board could not be more thrilled for the continued growth and development of our organization under her leadership,” said CILS Vice-Chairman Joe Ayala. “Serving on the CILS board has been an opportunity for me to grow and give. I am grateful to all the dedicated partners, lawyers, and advocates that I have been fortunate to work with along the way. CILS’ fight for a just, free, and equitable society for all has never been more important, and Heather is the right leader for this important moment.”