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California Native Issues

This page contains links to California Native specific information and resources. Please refer to California Tribal Court/BJA for more resources specific to California Tribal Court Development and the Bureau of Justice Assistance Tribal Court Assistant (TCAP) Program.

Governor Brown Establishes Tribal Advisor to Strengthen Communication, Collaboration with California’s Native American Tribes – In order to strengthen communication and collaboration between California state government and Native American Tribes, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an Executive Order establishing the position of Governor’s Tribal Advisor in the Office of the Governor. This position will serve as a direct link between the Governor’s Office and tribal governments on matters including legislation, policy and regulation. Governor Brown signed the Executive Order today while attending the TASIN All California Tribes Meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento, CA. More Information >>>

A statewide Directory of Services for Native American Families is available on the California Courts website. The Directory contains contact information on services to assist Indian children and families. Search by county, service type or both.

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute has partnered with the California Administrative Office of the Courts to conduct the Native American Communities Justice Project (NACJP), an investigation into the issue of family violence in California Native Communities.
The California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has established, as part of the Center for Families Children & the Courts, a Tribal Projects Unit. The purpose of Tribal Projects Unit is to serve as liaison and to assist the judicial branch with the development of policies, positions, and programs to ensure the highest quality of justice and service for California’s Native American communities in cases relating to Indian Child Welfare Act, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Early California Laws and Policies related to California Indians, By Kimberly Johnston-Dodds (CRB-02-014 , September 2002)
Did the State of California enact laws that prohibited California Indians from practicing their religion, speaking their languages or practicing traditional ceremonies and customs? This report contains information obtained from public records related to four examples of early State of California laws and policies that significantly impacted the California Indians' way of life. These early examples include: the 1850 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians; State of California militia laws and policies related to "Expeditions against the Indians" during 1851 to 1859; the California Legislature's involvement in influencing the U.S. Senate's ratification process of the 18 treaties negotiated with California Indians during 1851 to 1852; and laws enacted during the first fifteen years of statehood that accommodated Indian tribes' traditional fishing practices. California laws exist today that continue to protect fish and exempt California Indians from related prohibitions.

The Status of American Indian Children in Los Angeles (November 2004) is a policy brief by the Los Angeles American Indian Children's Council that presents recent  findings on the status of American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) children in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Major findings on American Indian and Alaskan Native children include:

  • AIANs are a relatively young and rapidly growing population.
  • AIAN children are geographically dispersed.
  • Nearly one-in-four live below the poverty line.
  • Only about a half live in two-parent households.
  • A disproportionately high percent face educational barriers.
  • AIAN children have less access to childcare.

Building and Buying Green in Indian Country: A Practical Guide for California Tribes is a guide that provides tribal project decision makers and planners with an overview of "green" building practices to help them evaluate and choose sustainable options as they develop projects with architects, contractors, suppliers, or other building professionals.

Public Law 280: California was one of the original five mandatory Public Law 280 states. See Public Law 280 Page for information and resources concerning Public Law 280.

A Second Century of Dishonor: Federal Inequities and California Tribes, by Carole Goldberg, J.D. and Duane Champagne, Ph. D., with assistance from Wallace T. Cleaves, Leroy Seidel, Chad Gordon , Patty Ferguson, Kit Winter, Lola Worthington and Lori Soghomonian, focuses on California (one of the mandatory Public Law 280 states) and the inequities suffered by California Tribes, including the impact of Public Law 280. For over 100 years, studies conducted by federal, state, and private agencies have reached the same conclusion: California Indians are not receiving a fair share from federal Indian programs; and because they have received less support from the federal government, California Indians have suffered in social-economic well-being relative to other Indian groups in other states . . .

Sample California Tribal Codes

Other Codes

Draft Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs)

Other Resources

Other resources (PL 280, but not California Specific)

General Information

A Short Overview of California Indian History is provided by the California Native American Heritage Commission.

California Indian Legal Services (CILS) is the first Indian-controlled law firm organized to provide specialized legal representation to Indians and Indian tribes. CILS provides free or low-cost representation on those matters that fall within the priorities. Created by California Indian leaders and public interest attorneys, CILS has been one of the preeminent advocates for the rights of Native Americans and Indian Tribes for over thirty years. Some of the links on this site are: is a joint project of California Indian Legal Services and Public Interest Clearinghouse with the guidance of the CalJustice Advisory Committee and assistance from advocates at many LSC and IOLTA-funded legal aid programs.

The American Indian Children's Council is one of nine advisory councils to the Los Angeles Children's Planning Council. The American Indian Children's Council is countywide and works across the 8 Service Planning Areas to ensure that American Indian children are not overlooked in the planning efforts across Los Angeles county. Their goal is:

  • To provide planning information for the Children's Planning Council and the eight Service Planning Area Councils on the Federal laws pertaining to the unique needs and issues related to American Indian children.
  • Educate the American Indian population on county systems.
  • Review proposed policy changes in county services to assess their impact on Indian children.
  • Ensure the availability of, and access to, high quality services for all children, youth, and their families.
  • Establish a vision for children under the American Indian Children's Council.
  • Contribute to the five outcome measures and corresponding indicator results though the planning and coordination of service-partnership with Los Angeles County.

Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN) is a searchable library of Federal, Tribal, and state environmental and planning information developed by the California Resources Agency to facilitate access to a variety of electronic data describing California's rich and diverse environments.

California Indian Gaming News contains extensive links to news articles from newspapers across the country concerning Indian gaming and related issues. It is maintained by Victor Rocha of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Temecula, California.

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), founded in 1988, is a non-profit organization comprised of federally-recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Senator Barbara Boxer has posted an alphabetical listing of California American Indian Tribes.

The California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) was founded and incorporated in 1969 by a consortium of nine California Indian Tribes to advocate for the return of federal health care services to the American Indian population of California. Those services had been withdrawn in the 1950's as part of the federal policy of termination that resulted in the loss of federal tribal status to numerous small tribes. Through the efforts of this organization two decades of shameful neglect of Indian health problems was brought to an end.

The Southern California Indian Center (SCIC) is a non-profit community-based organization serving the American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian communities of Los Angeles, Orange, Kern and Riverside Counties -- covering over 5,000 square miles and hosting the largest concentration of urban American Indian/Native Alaskans in the nation.

United American Indian Involvement mission is to provide quality educational programs, primary health, mental health, housing, economic development and social services to American Indians residing in Los Angeles County in a manner that is sensitive and respectful to cultural, tribal and spiritual values.

The mission of Native Nations Law and Policy Center at UCLA School of Law is to support Native nations throughout the United States, with a special focus on California tribes, in developing their systems of governance and in addressing critical public policy issues and to apply the resources of state-supported education together with tribal expertise to address contemporary educational needs for southern California Tribes. The NNLPC includes the following programs and projects: Research and Publications; Tribal Legal Development Clinic; Instructional and Training (Tribal Learning Community and Educational Exchange).

The core goals and objectives of the American Indian Studies Center (AISC) at UCLA are to facilitate research and research collaborations; disseminate research results through research conferences, meetings and other activities; strengthen graduate and undergraduate education by providing students enrolled in the American Indian Studies program with training opportunities and access to facilities; to seek extramural research funds; and carry out university and public service programs related to the Center's research expertise.

The Northern California Indian Development Council is a private nonprofit corporation that annually provides services to 14,000 to 15,000 clients throughout California. NCIDC was established in 1976 to research, develop and administer social and economic development programs designed to meet the needs of Indian and Native American Communities; to provide support and technical assistance for the development of such programs, and the conservation and preservation of historic and archeological sites and resources.

Indian Dispute Resolution Services (IDRS) is a national non-profit Indian organization, founded in 1990 by a consortium of five prominent national and regional Indian organizations. These include the First Nations Development Institute, the Seventh Generation Fund, California Indian Legal Services, the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, and the Round Valley Indian Reservation. The Office of National Affairs of the American Arbitration Association was also a member of the consortium.

The Center for California Native Nations raison d'être is to improve the University of California Riverside's capacity to benefit California Indians through its research, teaching, and service. The Center will radiate energy outward, enabling the University to engage fruitfully with California Indians, and it will act magnetically, providing a one-stop nexus for California Indians seeking to tap the great intellectual and analytical power of the modern university. The Center will cultivate and strengthen culturally sensitive competencies and preserve useful institutional memory that can help faculty, staff, students, and tribal members initiate, maintain, share, coordinate, and evaluate positive revitalization projects.

Native American Documents Project Cal State San Marcos has posted Indian Tribes of North America (California), an interactive online version of the California section of the 1952 compilation of ethnographic data by John R. Swanton,  with an extensive introduction. Information about native groups can be accessed by clicking on their names on two maps, one for Northern California, the other for Southern California.

As of July 1, 1999, according to population estimates: - The five states with the Largest American Indian and Alaska Native Populations were:

  1. California (314,000)
  2. Oklahoma (263,000)
  3. Arizona (261,000)
  4. New Mexico (166,000)
  5. Washington (105,000)

Overall, roughly one-half of the nation's American Indians and Alaska Natives lived in Western states.

California Tribes 


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