MILS Survey for Michigan Tribal Members

The letter:

Dear Tribal Community Member,

Michigan Indian Services (MILS) is asking for your feedback on an important survey. 

MILS provides legal services statewide to income-eligible individuals and tribes, advocates for the rights of individuals that advance systems of justice, and works to preserve Indian families through state and tribal courts.

The purpose of this survey is to identify the highest priorities related to legal services for low-income Native Americans. 

MILS will use the results to prioritize services for the next seven years, so your participation is extremely important to us.

MILS is offering an incentive drawing for a total of seven $100 gift cards for those who complete the survey over the next several months. Drawing dates are August 1, October 1, December 1, February 1, April 1, June 1, and September 30. 

You can access the survey link here. It takes about 15 minutes to complete: 

ICWA Local Counsel Information Collection Survey


The number one request we get at the ICWA Appellate Project is for local counsel for either the tribe or an individual (Grandma, 98% of the time). These cases happen all over the country, and finding attorneys in, say, Massachusetts or Tennessee or West Virginia, can be difficult. In 2014-2015, Addie Smith at NICWA and I did one of these surveys that really needs updating and expansion (we collected fewer than 100 names), so here it is. I will compile the lists together and delete any duplicates.

So if you are someone who can help, fill this out. If you are someone who has come up to me at a conference asking HOW to help, fill it out. If you are a tribe that has regularly identified local counsel, see if they will fill this out to help other tribes. If you’re at a big firm, see if some of your non-Indian law colleagues in the states without federally recognized tribes would be willing to fill it out. If you read this and think, “oh, Kate knows I would help,” fill it out anyway, because I have limited brainspace! If you have old friends from law school who now practice in random places like, say, northern Ohio, ask THEM to fill it out. If you work at a family law clinic and have never taken ICWA cases, here is your chance to teach your students something new–fill it out! And related, If you took my ICWA class at MSU Law, FILL IT OUT.

The information we are collecting isn’t confidential, but we will only distribute it as needed for those who ask.


Caveat: yes, tribal representatives are supposed to be able to participate in ICWA cases regardless of jurisdiction. However, that can be highly dependent on local judges, and if they are denied, we often need an attorney to explain why that’s wrong. In addition, whenever possible, tribes should be represented by attorneys in state courts, and especially when the case is not going well. And if there is an appeal–well, then we really need attorneys.

Thank you all very much.

California ICWA Task Force Information and Survey

Recently the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Children’s Justice, established an ICWA compliance task force with a goal of examining ICWA non-compliance in California.  In support of this effort tribal leaders have come together to provide information to assist the California DOJ in looking at ICWA compliance issues, including cases involving non-California tribes.  This project is an opportunity for all tribes to provide feedback on these important issues.

Letter to tribal leaders from task force co-chairs.

Letter to tribal leaders from California AG.

There is both a call (details in first letter) and a survey is for any tribe with children in the California system, not just California tribes. Survey is here and is due by January 15.

Questions can be directed to Delia Parr at CILS,



Repost: National ICWA Attorney Survey

Posting this one more time because it worked smashingly for a tribe yesterday. Fill it out! Forward it on!

In an attempt to better protect ICWA, tribes, and AI/AN families,
NICWA and the ILPC have put together a short survey to collected ICWA attorney information nationwide. If you are in-house or outside counsel, if you are a parents’ attorney interested in taking ICWA cases, if you are legal aid agency who represents tribes, if you stumbled on this post and would be willing to represent a tribe from another state in an ICWA proceeding, please fill this out this poll.

The information will be sent to NICWA, and not sold or otherwise distributed beyond what is indicated. Please forward this questionnaire to the ICWA attorneys in your network and encourage them to submit their information as well.

Here is the link.