BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday, June 4, appointed a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribal Council representative as the executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

Nathan Davis, who's been a member of Turtle Mountain's governing body since 2018, will head the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission — the state agency that aims to strengthen state and tribal relations. As executive director, Davis will sit in Burgum’s cabinet.

“Nathan Davis brings the leadership experience and bridge-building skills we need to continue fostering tribal engagement and strengthening our state-tribal relationships built on mutual understanding and respect,” Burgum said in a statement.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis has served as Turtle Mountain’s tribal health liaison and has helped facilitate the creation of a multimillion-dollar addiction recovery center for the tribal nation, according to the governor’s office.

Davis is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and a descendant of the Spirit Lake Nation. Nathan Davis is not immediately related to former Indian Affairs Executive Director Scott Davis, said Mike Nowatzki, Burgum’s spokesman. Scott Davis stepped down in April to assume a newly-created position with Sanford Health.

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Nathan Davis has held many leadership roles, including vice chairman of BlueChip financial, a Turtle Mountain-owned economic development agency that supports tribal programs. He's served on the United Tribes Technical College’s board of directors and as a board member of United Tribes of North Dakota, according to the governor’s office.

“It is an honor to serve the governor’s Cabinet as executive director of the Indian Affairs Commission,” Davis said in a statement. "I am confident that working together with the five tribal nations of North Dakota will lead us to great heights for the betterment of tribal nations, North Dakota and all of our future generations."

Readers can reach reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at