BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum has accepted the resignation of North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission Executive Director Scott Davis, effective April 30, thanking him for nearly 12 years of leadership in building state-tribal relations. Davis will leave Team ND to join Sanford Health as head of Native American outreach.
Davis was appointed executive director of the Indian Affairs Commission in April 2009 by then-Gov. John Hoeven and re-appointed by former Gov. Jack Dalrymple and by Burgum in December 2016. As executive director, Davis serves at a cabinet level between North Dakota's state and tribal governments to address issues regarding education, court systems, economic development, social services, gaming, oil-energy, law enforcement, transportation, health care, veterans and youth.
“For more than a decade, Scott has been a dedicated leader in advancing state-tribal relations, continuously and passionately advocating on behalf of each of our state’s five tribal nations at the state and federal level for solutions and partnerships to address the many complex and generational challenges in Indian Country,” Burgum said. “Scott’s role is one of the most challenging and important in our state. He has been fearless in advocating for closing the serious gaps that exist for enrolled tribal members who are citizens of North Dakota. He has always worked to bring positive change by bringing all sides of the issue together to a point of greater understanding, often amidst emotionally charged topics and deeply held views. We are deeply grateful to Scott for his long service on behalf of the Indian Affairs Commission and we look forward to continuing to work with him in the health care sector as he develops opportunities for tribal nations and their members.”
Davis has played a key role in carrying out the Burgum-Sanford administration’s Tribal Engagement initiative, one of the administration’s five strategic initiatives. Progress has included a historic oil tax revenue sharing compact with MHA Nation; updated comprehensive agreements to enhance child welfare services for Native American children and families; establishing memorandums of understanding on law enforcement jurisdiction; and expanding opportunities for communication and collaboration with tribal nations through the Strengthening Government-to-Government Partnerships and Relationships Conference.
In his resignation letter, Davis noted that during his almost 12 years as executive director, he has served three governors, 23 tribal chairs and five tribal nations, along with numerous state and federal agencies, to strengthen tribal-state relations.
“Within those processes I have been blessed to have worked with thousands of amazing, professional, highly skilled people,” he stated. “This decision does not come easy. Throughout my entire career, my heart directs me to strengthen opportunities for my Tribal members across the State. There is still much work to be done.”
Davis said it has been an honor to serve the Burgum administration, adding, “You have certainly elevated Tribal Engagement for our State and our Tribal Nations!”
The Indian Affairs Commission executive director position will be posted immediately.