Gary “Litefoot” Davis succeeded Eric Trevan, former president and chief executive officer of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), as the interim president and CEO of the NCAIED on January 30, 2012, the nonprofit announced in a press release on February 14.
Davis has previously hosted the NCAIED Reservation Economic Summit (RES) and served on the NCAIED board of directors. The Cherokee rap artist and actor Litefoot recently released the album “Relentless Pursuit” featuring hit songs such as “I Am It,” “Different People,” “I’m So Fresh,” “My Chick” and “The Chief.”
In addition to recording 11 award-winning albums distributed worldwide under his label with Red Vinyl Records, which he founded in 1992, Davis is a highly regarded Native entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He founded the hugely successful Native Style clothing and accessory line in 2001. In early 2011, Davis began to develop, design and manufacture his own branded sneaker line—the FlexArrow.
Davis has also served as vice president of Native Affairs for the Triple Five Group, owners of the world’s largest retail shopping malls; the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall.
“Mr. Davis, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, brings with him over 20 years of vast national business experience, which includes small business management and operations, corporate consulting, tribal government relations, non-profit operations and working with federal agencies and programs,” NCAIED Board Chairwoman Margo Gray Proctor said in announcing Davis’ new role. “We are confident that he will add tremendously to our organization.”
In the Native American business community, Mr. Davis has facilitated a variety of Native-to-Native business opportunities ranging from gaming projects, hospitality, real estate development and various green energy initiatives. He has served as an advisor to a variety of Native American small business owners and was appointed as co-chair of the National Indian Gaming Association’s American Indian Business Network.
The NCAIED press release states that perhaps Davis’ most impressive achievement has been the success of his “Reach the Rez Tour” (RTR), started in 2005 by Davis and his wife Carmen Davis (Makah, Yakama, and Chippewa Cree), who is president of the parent organization Association for American Indian Development. Last year, RTR traveled to 211 communities.
The group Reach the Rez (RTR) has announced plans for its 2012 RTR “Rise” motivational tour, which will make stops at 48 reservations around the country and reach potentially 75,000 Natives. “RISE” stands for Revitalization, Inspiration, Sustainability and Empowerment. At stops on the tour, Indian leaders, entertainers, athletes and others speak and perform, delivering positive messages to the tribal communities.
Related: Read Davis’ article in ICTMN on Becoming ‘Good Enough’.