SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Cal Aggie Alumni Association of the University of
California, Davis has recognized Monteau & Peebles Partner Christina V.
Kirk Kazhe as the 2004 recipient of its Young Alumna Award.
The award honors Kazhe for outstanding contributions to the community as a
professional and UC Davis graduate. It is presented to a single UC Davis
graduate each year.
Kazhe grew up in Sacramento. where she belonged to a large family from the
Navajo Nation and Mescalero Apache Tribe. Her experience with UC Davis
started at a young age through family visits to the campus as dancers in
annual pow wows and as arts and crafts vendors. She realized the importance
of higher education early in life, but a high school guidance counselor
discouraged her from attending college and becoming a lawyer. That didn't
stop her from following her dream.
After a visit by a UC Davis Equal Opportunity Program recruiter, Kazhe
enrolled at UC Davis in 1989 following her high school graduation. She
became an active member of the UC Davis community and worked as a teaching
assistant for Native American Studies, served as president of the Native
American Student Union, chaired the Native American Culture Days Committee
and acted as student assistant to the Chancellor and a board member for the
She graduated with honors after earning a bachelor's degree in Human
Development and Native American Studies in 1993, when she was also selected
as the Outstanding Graduating Woman for her class. Accepted into the Boalt
Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, she earned
her law degree and passed the California Bar in 1996.
"UC Davis gave me the opportunity to succeed. It was a UC Davis recruiter
who visited my high school and told me I could do well there. It was a UC
Davis professor, Dave Risling, who told me I had the potential to become a
lawyer who could fight for Native rights - and it was UC Davis that
provided me with a solid education and a variety of life experiences that
allowed me to attend one of the best law schools in the nation," Kazhe
She started her legal career as an associate at Morrison & Forster LLP in
San Francisco, then joined the national American Indian firm of Monteau &
Peebles in 2001. Since then, Kazhe has successfully represented tribes in
state and federal civil litigation, restored land determinations,
fee-to-trust applications and advocacy in cases involving the Indian Child
She became a partner at Monteau & Peebles in 2004 and today is one of four
female American Indian attorneys practicing at the firm.
Her involvement with the American Indian community in California continues
and includes service as a member and chairperson on the board of directors
of the American Indian Child Resource, a nonprofit social service and
education agency founded in 1972 to preserve Indian families. She also
serves as chairperson of the Native American Alumni Association at UC
Monteau & Peebles, LLP is a national law firm specializing in federal
Indian law, gaming negotiations, business transactions and administrative
law. Representing tribes throughout the United States, the firm maintains
offices in Sacramento; Washington, D.C.; Missoula, Mont.; Omaha, Neb. and