Law student wished to help his people
U. of U. graduation day was just weeks away
Article Last Updated: 03/23/2007 01:34:55 AM MDT
David Cuch once wrote that he wanted to become a lawyer so he could "help [American Indian] tribes deal with issues pertaining to natural resource rights, tribal court administration and gaming.
"I believe it is important for tribes to have Indian legal representatives who understand tribal interests," he wrote in a scholarship essay as a University of Utah law student in 2005.
But Cuch will never get the chance to practice law.
Cuch died this week. He was 28. His family declined to provide further details.
An e-mail forwarded around the law community said Cuch "unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday."
The Ute tribe member was one of two American Indian law students at the university's S.J. Quinney College of Law and weeks away from his scheduled law school graduation. He was believed to be the first Ute Indian to attend law school.
"We are all shocked and saddened by the loss of David. As president of NALSA [Native American Law Student Association], he was a great leader. While we can never hope to overcome our collective loss, we will do all that we can to honor his inspiring legacy," said law school Dean Hiram Chodosh in an e-mail to The Tribune.
Cheryl Mori, Utah Minority Bar Association past president, got to know Cuch through the various functions they attended. She said she enjoyed the American Indian dance he performed at a Minority Bar Association event in 2005, the same year Cuch received a $500 scholarship from the organization. Mori said she had always been impressed with his passion for working in the community.
"He really cared about his people," she said, referring to American Indians. "He was caring - everyone loved him."
Mori also said Cuch "was quiet and shy, but when you got to know him, he'd open up and had a sense of humor."
Cuch, who lived in Salt Lake City, was born in Vernal, and attended Wasatch Academy, a boarding school in Mount Pleasant. His father is Forrest Cuch, who is the Utah State Office of Indian Affairs director.
The younger Cuch earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Westminster College and a master's in public administration from the University of Utah. He worked as a coordinator for a social justice nonprofit group, an assistant teacher in Salt Lake City and as a summer camp youth counselor.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Hullinger Mortuary, 457 E. 300 North
in Roosevelt, with the burial following at Fort Duchesne, U.S. 40, according to the community e-mail.
Flowers may be sent to the mortuary, or people can make a donation to the University of Utah's American Indian Resource Center.