Gary "Litefoot" Davis, a member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and a music and on-screen personality, was named executive director of the Native American Financial Services Association.
The tribal lending organization said in a press release Wednesday that Davis will take on his new role starting Oct. 1. Davis will succeed Barry Brandon, who served in that position since 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In his new role, Davis, who is also a rap recording artist and film and television actor, said he will help create greater awareness about the financial services provided by tribally owned companies and work to expand the organization's reach "to create even greater growth in the tribal financial services sector."
Davis' appointment comes at a time when state officials and federal agencies have increased pressure on many tribal online lenders for charging exorbitantly high fees on loans. But many lenders have won in court, citing tribal sovereignty that makes them immune from violations of lending laws.
Established in 2012, NAFSA's mission is to advocate for "tribal sovereignty, promote responsible financial services, and provide better economic opportunity in Indian Country for the benefit of tribal communities," according to its website. The trade group is based in Washington.
Davis was previously chief executive and president of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development in Mesa, Ariz. Prior to that he was vice president of Native Affairs for the Triple Five Group, the owners of the West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America.
NAFSA's Chairman John Shotton characterized Davis' appointment as "transformative" for the organization and called him "a passionate and tireless advocate for creating new economic opportunities for Indian Country."