Word Warriors: An Interview with Joey Montoya

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Joey Montoya, I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. I currently live in San Jose, CA where I am studying advertising and graphic design at San Jose State University.

What was your proudest accomplishment this year?

This year has been a good year for not only me, but Urban Native Era. My proudest accomplishment this year is putting one of the First Native events on campus for Native American Heritage Month at San Jose State University.

What motivates you?

What motivates me is mostly my father who passed away in December 2011. I also find motivation in our youth and people who are doing what they love. It inspires me to work harder for our people and my community.

If you could sit down with the decision makers of America, what would you tell them about Native America?

I would tell them that Native America is beautiful. We are putting our culture out in the world and want respect for it. Whether it is for the protection of sacred sites, protection of mother earth against fracking, showing you traditions that have been kept alive past genocide and we will show people the way we want to be shown not only as Indigenous Peoples today, but past, present, and future.

What’s the best advice you have for college-bound Native students?

My best advice is to break outside your comfort zone and meet new people and join organizations. Do not be afraid to be yourself because I am sure you will find friends who love you for being yourself. Also, remember that you can do anything you put your mind too. Just remember where you come from and how much you have accomplished so far. Native America will always be here for you.

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