CRLA's Indigenous Program (IP) is the only legal services program in California exclusively focused on the legal rights of Indigenous Latin American communities.
If you are in need of legal services, contact us online or call (661) 854-3839. Indigenous Program staff can offer services in English, Spanish, and some variants of Mixteco, Triqui, and Purépecha, and interpretation services are available for other languages at no charge.
Legal Services for Rural California's Indigenous Latin American Communities
Indigenous Latin Americans are the original inhabitants of Latin America who lived and thrived for thousands of years before Spanish speaking Europeans arrived. They retain distinct cultural and linguistic identities today. Indigenous Latin American communities have enriched California’s linguistic and cultural diversity, and many have enhanced food security for the U.S. and abroad through their decades-long work in the agricultural sector.
The challenges Indigenous communities face often stem from targeted, anti-Indigenous bias and language barriers when agencies and service providers fail to provide meaningful access. Indigenous communities encounter numerous issues including dangerous and unfair working conditions, housing discrimination, barriers for parents and their children in the education system, and language barriers during interactions with government agencies, healthcare facilities and law enforcement, and others.
How and Where the Indigenous Program Works
The Indigenous Program team provides services to the community through a mix of direct services, outreach, Know Your Rights style trainings, and systemic impact litigation/projects throughout rural California. We are empowered with the information we use in our advocacy through the wealth of information shared by our client communities.
Currently, our cases mostly consist of claims for unpaid wages and asserting employee rights in the workplace. We also handle a limited number of education, public benefits, immigration and housing cases.
The IP is based in CRLA’s Arvin office. The program’s local work is concentrated in Kern County, although it continues to build on its statewide advocacy and program staff serve as a resource statewide to private attorneys, academic institutions, other nonprofits, and government providers on the unique considerations of serving Indigenous communities.
Support the Indigenous Program's Success
The Indigenous Program's notable accomplishments in recent years include:
- Settled a case against the state agency administering Unemployment Insurance for their widespread failure to provide language access to claimants, resulting in significant, system-wide changes in their language access practices.
- Released and disseminated a study evaluating the health impacts on Indigenous language speakers in Kern County when they don’t have access to interpreters during interactions with law enforcement.
We are interested in continuing to expand our language rights advocacy and immigration work in the coming years. You can get involved by donating your time as a volunteer or as a private attorney offering co-counseling support or accepting case referrals. Email us for current volunteer or pro bono opportunities.
Your financial support is also deeply appreciated and critical to our on-going success. Make a donation to support the Indigenous Program today.