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Published August 22 2010

North Dakota political notebook: Talking with executive director of Indian Affairs

Dear readers,

This week, I decided to do my “Ask Your Government” column about the state Indian Affairs Commission.

Executive Director Scott Davis has spoken at a few legislative meetings this summer, so I decided to find out more about what he does.

Gov. John Hoeven appointed Davis to the Cabinet-level position in April 2009.

Davis serves as liaison between North Dakota’s state and tribal governments to address issues regarding education, business, economic development, transportation, wellness, veterans and youth.

“It’s about educating the tribes and the state about each other,” Davis said.

One of his focus areas is working with the state Commerce Department to assess tribal businesses in North Dakota. Connecting unemployed tribal members with jobs and overcoming transportation and housing barriers are also issues, he said.

Davis is also interested in creating partnerships between the state university system and tribal colleges, as well as between Indian Health Service and the North Dakota Dental Association. The waiting list for dental work in tribal communities is problematic, he said.

Davis also serves on a commission studying racial and ethnic bias in the state court system.

With all of the serious issues his job involves, Davis also works on some lighter topics.

He recently updated legislators about a project to preserve Native American language. Episodes of “The Bernstein Bears” are being voiced in the Lakota language to help teach children.

He also said this summer’s youth leadership academy was “a huge success,” with 40 high school students engaging in leadership, wellness, career development, cultural and spiritual activities.

More information about Davis and the Indian Affairs Commission is available at www.nd.gov/indianaffairs.

Do you have a question for a state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.

com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

Legislative week ahead

The Taxation Committee meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol in Bismarck.

Topics include property tax relief, tax increment financing, and the allocations of oil and gas gross production tax money to political subdivisions for fiscal year 2010.

The Natural Resources Committee meets at 9 a.m. Friday in the Ionian/Mediterranean Room of the Holiday Inn Riverside, 2200 Burdick Expressway E., in Minot.

The agenda includes discussion of oil development activities and issues, as well as regulation of rig and well sites.

Legislators will also hear a report from the state Parks and Recreation Department on linking and improving public sites along the Sibley and Sully historic trails.

Daily updates on state Capitol happenings can be found at http://north

dakota.areavoices.com.

Organic advisory board

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has appointed Pat Frank of Dickinson and Jennifer Tesch of Fargo to two-year terms on the North Dakota Organic Advisory Board.

Goehring also reappointed Christina Dockter, Medina; Britt Jacobson, Park River; Ernie Hoffert, Carrington; Anne Ongstad, Robinson, and Betsy Perkins, Grand Forks, to two-year terms.

Board members represent organic producers, processors, retailers, certifiers and consumers. The board meets Sept. 30 in Bismarck.


Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.