This December we are highlighting Native Bruin David Montoya (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), Class of 2009 – Juris Doctorate, Masters American Indian Studies.
David Montoya is an enrolled member of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and has been serving Indian Country as an attorney and consultant for over 10 years. David graduated from UCLA School of Law’s Federal Indian Law joint degree program in 2009, earning a J.D. and a Masters in American Indian Studies. He has worked as an in-house attorney for several tribes across California including the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria. Some of David’s major successful projects in Indian Country include the following: building the Bear River Tribal Court and Public Safety Departments, negotiating settlement agreements with school districts to resolve the discriminatory treatment of Native students, successfully managing multi-million dollar tribal government grant portfolios, developing multiple tribal private enterprises as part of economic development initiatives, and training local government agencies to successfully work with tribal communities.
Promoting educational opportunities for tribal communities has always been a cornerstone of David’s philosophical approach. To this end, David has served on the Native American Advisory Committees for both Cal Poly Humboldt and Palomar Community College District, working extensively with college administrators on topics ranging from NAGPRA compliance, cultural consideration when working with Native students and working directly with tribal leadership to find joint solutions to resolve educational barriers.
David currently operates his own law firm, David J. Montoya III Law & Consulting, where he serves as the Senior Law & Governance Specialist for The Falmouth Institute, and as an appellate court justice for the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe. David also is a part-time ethnic studies faculty member for San Bernardino Valley College and also hosts a podcast with his wife, Nora. The Do Good Team Podcast, established in early 2023, showcases nonprofits and charitable causes across the country to raise awareness, create community, and highlight good people doing good work.
“Attending UCLA was a dream come true since I grew up in a UCLA household. The University gave me much more than an education though. While the School of Law and the American Indian Studies program taught me the technical skills to be successful in the practice of law for Indian Country, it also taught me how to be empathetic and demonstrate leadership through thoughtfulness. I credit my professional success, in part, to the faculty and leadership at UCLA instilling these attributes within me. I have been able to have a career that is intellectually stimulating, rewarding, and spiritually fulfilling because of them. Go Bruins!”
Owner, David J. Montoya III Law & Consulting
Co-Owner, The Do Good Team, LLC (LINK)
Treasurer, UCLA American Indian Alumni Association
Ethnic Studies Adjunct Faculty, San Bernardino Valley College