California Indian Legal Services (CILS)


Launched four decades ago, CILS is one of the oldest non-profit law firms devoted exclusively to the cause of Native American rights. HQ in Escondido, with offices in Bishop, Eureka, and Sacramento.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: California
Organization type(s): Provider
Acronym or short name: CILS
Lists: LSC
Tags: Native American

California Indian Legal Services (CILS) is one of the oldest non-profit law firms devoted exclusively to the cause of Native American rights. Governed by a Board of Trustees selected by California tribes and tribal organizations, CILS has provided free and low-cost legal services to California tribes, tribal organizations, and Native American individuals throughout the state for over four decades. The mission of CILS is to protect and advance Indian rights, foster Indian self-determination, and facilitate tribal nation-building.

CILS began as California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), and the organization’s earliest mission was to reach out and provide legal representation to clients in rural areas, which included many Native Americans. However, in 1967, the frequency and complexity of legal problems faced by California’s Native American population inspired the formation of a distinct organization dedicated to such matters.  Today, CILS maintains four offices throughout California and is supported by grants, namely the Legal Services Corporation and the State Bar of California, private foundations, individual and corporate contributors, and contracts from a host of California’s 109 federally recognized Indian Tribes.


This page last modified: Tue, May 3, 2016 -- 4:01 pm ET