California Indian Law Association Honorees Announced


ROHNERT PARK, CA – The California Indian Law Association (CILA) is proud to announce that George Forman is the 2019 recipient of CILA’s Outstanding Achievement in Indian Law Award and Christina Snider is the 2019 recipient of CILA’s inaugural Outstanding Young Attorney Award.

CILA’s Outstanding Achievement in Indian Law Award honors one legal professional annually who has made significant contributions to California Indian law. Previous recipients of this award include Dorothy Alther, Executive Director of California Indian Legal Services and Carole Goldberg, Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA School of Law. CILA’s inaugural Outstanding Young Attorney Award recognizes one attorney in practice for ten years or less who exemplifies high achievement, innovation, leadership, and service. Christina is the first recipient of this award.

“George Forman has worked tirelessly for Indian Country for half a century. His landmark work on behalf of my Tribe and all Tribes has defined the landscape of Indian law in the state. Not only is he an Indian law legend, George also takes the time to mentor young Natives, including myself, that are interested in attending law school. This is a well-deserved honor,” said Loretta Miranda, Vice President of the CILA Board of Directors.

“CILA chose Christina Snider as its inaugural Outstanding Young Attorney Award winner because she exemplifies the best of what young Native attorneys are accomplishing across the state. Christina’s innovative and tireless advocacy throughout her young career has left a lasting impact on her clients and state policy,” said Geneva E.B. Thompson, President of the CILA Board of Directors.

George and Christina will be honored at the CILA Gala on October 3, 2019 at the 19th Annual California Indian Law Conference at Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park, California.

George Forman

George Forman, a 1967 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and a 1970 graduate of Berkeley Law, began his Indian law experience with California Indian Legal Services (CILS) in 1969 as a summer law clerk in the Escondido office, after which he opened the Ukiah Office, then came to the Berkeley and then the Oakland office. In 1985, George entered full-time private practice and in 1996, along with Patricia A. Prochaska, founded Forman & Prochaska in San Rafael, California.

George taught Indian law for ten years as an Adjunct Professor at U.C.’s Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, and has been a presenter at the annual conferences of the Environmental Law Section of the California State Bar, several conferences of the California District Attorneys’ Association, Indian Financing Conferences, the Earl Warren Inns of Court in Oakland, meetings of various tribal organizations and trade associations, and in state and federal legislative hearings, where he has shared his knowledge of jurisdiction in Indian country, tribal government gaming and other related issues.

In February 2006, George began practice as the principal in Forman & Associates, Attorneys at Law, in San Rafael, California, where he currently has two associate partners. George has been solely or principally responsible for such landmark Indian law decisions as, Santa Rosa Band of Indians v. Kings County, 532 F.2d 655 (9th Cir. 1975) (held that P.L. 280 did not grant land use jurisdiction to States or Counties); Segundo v. City of Rancho Mirage, 813 F.2d 1387 (9th Cir. 1987) (held that City has no jurisdiction to control rents in mobile home park operated by non-Indians on leased allotted trust lands).

Mr. Forman has and continues to represent countless California tribal clients. This year, George celebrates his fiftieth year representing the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.


Christina Snider

Christina Snider, of Healdsburg, CA, serves as the Governor’s Tribal Advisor and executive secretary to the Native American Heritage Commission. Governor Brown established the position of Governor’s Tribal Advisor by executive order to bolster communication and collaboration between California state government and Native American Tribes. Christina as served in this position since February 2018.  Snider is a member of the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians and has served as an Indian Child Welfare Act representative for the Tribe since 2017. She was of counsel at Ceiba Legal LLP from 2016 to 2017, staff attorney at the National Congress of American Indians from 2015 to 2016, a legal fellow at the Wishtoyo Foundation in 2014 and a law clerk in the Office of Tribal Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012.

About CILA: The California Indian Law Association, Inc. (“CILA”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to serving as a strong representative of the Indian law profession in tribal communities across California. The 19th Annual California Indian Law Gala will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct 3, 2019, followed by the 19th Annual California Indian Law Conference from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, California. For the full agenda and details visit the CILA website:

Released: August 27, 2019.

Pre-Law Workshop in Los Angeles

Apply to the FREE Native Pre-Law Workshop co-hosted by California Indian Law Association and the National Native American Bar Association, June 7-8, 2019 in Los Angeles. Students who complete the workshop will receive an LSAT prep course scholarship, be paired with an attorney mentor, and will be welcomed into the California Indian Law community by receiving complementary registration to the 19th Annual California Indian Law Conference October 3-4, 2019 at Graton Resort and Casino.

Applications are due this Friday, May 3, 2019.

While this program is geared towards current undergraduates, others who are thinking of applying to law school are welcome to apply.

California Indian Law Association 17th Annual Indian Law Conference & Gala

Link: Register

CILA is pleased to announce that its 17th Annual Indian Law Conference & Gala will take place at the Thunder Valley Casino and Resort, 1200 Athens Avenue, Lincoln, California. Attorneys attending the Conference may receive 6.00 Regular MCLE credits.

Agenda at a Glance

Welcome Dinner & Gala
October 12, 2017
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

6:00 – 6:30 pm Arrival
6:30 pm Dinner Service Begins
6:45 – 7:10 Recognition of 2017 California Bar Foundation Diversity Bar Review Scholarship Recipient ​
7:15 – 7:30 pm Presentation of Outstanding Achievement in California Indian Law Award
9:00 pm Gala Concludes

Conference Panels
October 13, 2017
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

8:30 – 8:50  am Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:50 – 9:00  am Opening Prayer and Welcome

9:00 – 10:15 am Update on California Indian Law Litigation and Legislation
Moderator: TBD
Panelists: [INVITED]Jacob Mejia, Executive Director, Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations
                  [INVITED]Seth Davis, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

10:15 – 10:30 am Break

10:30– 12:00 pm California Gaming Update: The End of the Brown Administration
Moderator: TBD
Panelists: [INVITED]George Forman, Founding Partner, Forman & Associates
                  [INVITED] Joe Dhillon, Senior Advisor for Tribal Negotiations, Office of Governor Brown
                  [INVITED] Loretta Tuell, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch (provided)

12:15 – 12:45 pm Keynote Address:  Judge Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge, Yurok Tribe

1:15 – 2:30 pm  Tribal Disenrollment and Exclusions: A Discussion of Tribal Interests 
Moderator: [INVITED]Adam Bailey, Associate, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker
Panelists: TBD

2:30 – 3:30 pm CILA Organizational Matters: Board Elections and Other Business

3:30 – 5:00 pm Professional Responsibility – Protecting Your Tribal Clients & Yourself
Moderator: TBD
Panelists: [INVITED]Samuel Kohn, Associate, Dentons LLP

California Indian Law Association CLE Webinar November 30

CILA CLE Webinar


Please join CILA for its CLE webinar hosted in partnership with Ceiba Legal, LLP on November 30, 2016 at 12:00 p.m.

The webinar is titled “Born Again Compacts: How an Evolution in the Definition of ‘Gaming Facilities’ May Lead to a More Intelligent Design of Intergovernmental Agreements,” and will feature a discussion of the following topics:

  • Kevin Washburn’s recent journal article entitled “Recurring Issues in Indian Gaming Compact Approval,” including a general overview of allowable topics for negotiation under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act;
  • How ancillary facilities such as hotels have been impermissibly included in compacts and county intergovernmental agreements;
  • Recent California trends related to ancillary facilities and how practitioners can use these new trends to their advantage when negotiating or renegotiating intergovernmental agreements; and
  • The unique ethical issues faced by attorneys when negotiating the best deal for the tribal client may set negative precedent for Indian Country.

Participants will receive 1 CLE credit.

Registration is free for CILA members and non-members may register for $50.00. The $50.00 registration fee includes CILA membership from October 2016 to October 2017.

California Indian Law Association 16th Annual Indian Law Conference & Gala

CILA is pleased to announce that its 16th Annual Indian Law Conference & Gala will take place at the Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, California.  Attorneys attending the Conference may receive 6.00 Regular MCLE credits.

Registration Page

Agenda at a Glance

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (6:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
Gala & Keynote Presentation

  • Devon Lomayesva, Chief Judge, Intertribal Court of Southern California

*Dinner will be provided

Friday, October 14, 2016 (8:30 am – 5:00 pm)
Presentation of the Award for Outstanding Achievement in California Indian Law

  • Carole Goldberg, Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Conference Panels

  • AB 52 and its Implementation

Moderator: Adam Bailey, President, CILA
Panelists: Michele Hannah, Deputy General Counsel, Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians; Courtney Coyle, Attorney at Law

  • Sovereign Immunity Under Siege: Litigating Tribal Entity, Official, and Employee Immunity

Moderator: William Wood, Board Member, CILA
Panelists: Nicole Ducheneaux, Partner, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP; Sam Coffman, Member, Dickinson Wright PLLC; Tuari Bigknife, Attorney General, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

  • Current Taxation Issues in Indian Country 

Moderator: Adam Crepelle, Board Member, CILA
Panelists: Tom Gede, Of Counsel, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Wendy Pearson, Of Counsel, Hobbs, Strauss, Dean, & Walker, LLP

  • Update on California Indian Law Litigation & Legislation 

Moderator: Lindsey Fletcher, Vice President, CILA
Panelists: Seth Davis, Assistant Professor, UC Irvine School of Law; Lauren van Schilfgaarde, Tribal Law Specialist, Tribal Law & Policy Institute

*Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided

California Indian Law Association 15th Annual Indian Law Conference & Gala


Agenda at a Glance

Thursday, October 15, 2015 (6:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
Gala & Welcome Dinner
Presentation of the Outstanding Achievement in Indian Law Award to the Kumeyaay Repatriation Committee.  Dinner will be provided.

Friday, October 16, 2015 (8:30 am – 5:00 pm)
Conference Panels

  • California Water Rights, Groundwater, and the Drought

Moderator:   Adam Bailey, President, CILA
Panelists:      Tim Seward, Partner, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker
Denise Turner Walsh, Attorney General, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians
Cynthia Gomez, Tribal Advisor, Governor Jerry Brown

  • Tribes and the Marijuana Industry

Moderator:   Lauren van Schilfgaarde, Treasurer, CILA
Panelists:       Lael Echo-Hawk, Of Counsel, Garvey, Shubert, Barer
William Wood, Visiting Associate Professor, Southwestern Law School
Yurok Tribe Representative

  • P.L. 280 – A Path to Repeal

Moderator:   Adam Crepelle, Vice President, CILA
Panelists:       Tom Gede, Commission, Indian Law & order Commission; Of Counsel, Bingham McCutchen LLP
Dorothy Alther, Executive Director, California Indian Legal Services

  • Fee to Trust:  Strategies and Practice in Indian Country

Moderator:   Jacquelyn Jampolsky, Board Member, CILA
Panelists:      Tim Evans, Senior Counsel, Holland & Knight
Beth Middleton, Associate Professor, UC Davis
William Wood, Visiting Associate Professor, Southwestern Law School
William Haney, Associate, Berkey Williams LLP

  • Update on California Indian Law Litigation & Legislation

Moderator:   Lindsey Fletcher, Secretary, CILA
Panelists:       Katherine Florey, Associate Professor, UC Davis School of Law
Additional Panelist TBD

California Indian Law Association – 14th Annual Conference — October 16-17, 2014

California Indian Law Association – 14th Annual Conference

October 16-17, 2014

Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, Calif.

Register Here:

Discounted Room Block at Pechanga Resort available

Call 1-888-732-4264, and say you’re part of the Cal. Indian Law Association meeting.

Thursday, Oct. 16

6:00 PM: Welcome Dinner & Gala

Friday, Oct. 17

8:30 – 5:00 PM: Annual Conference (California MCLE Credits Available)

California Water Law

Rebecca Chapman, Owner, Chapman Law Firm

April Day, Associate, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Colin Hampson, Attorney, Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP

Heather Whiteman Runs Him, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund

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California Indian Law Association 13th Annual Conference Announcement — Oct. 10-11, 2013

13th Annual Indian Law Conference October 10 – 11, 2013

13th Annual CILA Indian Law Conference to be held at the Yocha Dehe Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, CA, on Highway 16, approximately one-hour northwest of Sacramento, California.  Click here for more information.

Agenda and registration form here.