By Jedd Parr, CILS Sacramento office Directing Attorney

Here are a few examples of the good work from our Sacramento office:

We gave an ICWA training on April 28, 2021, to Butte, Yuba, and Tehama Counties, and several local tribes. About 40 people attended via Zoom. Similar training was given for Tulare County and local tribes on June 3, 2021, which about 20 people attended.

We updated a tribal client’s Communicable Disease Ordinance to better allow them to enforce quarantine and isolation orders issued by their Tribal Public Health Authority, which they believe will improve their control of the spread of COVID-19 on the reservation.

We helped an individual client obtain a residential lease on an allotment on his tribe’s reservation, where he has built a traditional cedar plank house.

We persuaded a County in an ICWA case to support a tribal client’s preferred placement. The County first supported a non-Indian extended family member in another state, while our client’s placement was a tribal member but not family. However, the tribe’s placement was local and had another tribal member child in the home, and the tribe’s position was that their home would best support the child’s connection to the tribe. After some contention and negotiation between the tribe and County, we modified the ICWA’s placement preferences by tribal Resolution. The court ultimately ordered the tribal family as the child’s placement.

We continue to work with the California Public Domain Allottee Association to develop potential collaborations with environmental and natural resource nonprofits and academic research institutes. In addition, we continued to assist several individuals with regaining access to landlocked allotments.

We are helping an individual client appeal to the Social Security Administration (SSA) after she received a coronavirus-related stimulus payment from her tribe – based on her status as a low-income individual on SSI – but then had her SSI benefits reduced by the SSA. This poses a circular problem and does not serve the intent of the funding, which was to stimulate the economy by giving those most likely to spend money a little extra to spend.

Finally, we have recently begun work on how a new California law, The Families Over Fees Act (AB 1869), can help write off certain unpaid criminal administrative fees and related liens and interest, which disproportionately affect low-income individuals and pose a barrier to successful reentry to society.