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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Tribal Relations

As an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, I am very proud of my heritage and the tremendous accomplishments of tribes in Oklahoma and across our country. The U.S. Constitution and the federal government recognize that Native American tribes are sovereign entities with separate governments and rights that should be honored and respected. Indeed, tribes have a unique relationship with state and local governments, as well as the federal government.

Native Americans are aggressively working toward building Native economies and governments, and I am committed to making sure they have the tools and resources to continue these efforts. Through numerous treaties, as well as legislation, the United States has promised to provide this care, and I will work to make sure these promises are kept. I support efforts to increase business opportunities and economic development in Indian Country. Specifically, I support the use of tax incentives for businesses that locate or expand on former Indian lands or hire Native Americans and their spouses.  

I believe each tribe, with its own government and rights, should be honored and respected. Tribes should work mutually with the states and the federal government to maintain the integrity of their heritage, culture and legal rights. I also believe the federal government must comply with its trust and treaty obligation. That requires Washington to appropriately fund healthcare, education, infrastructure and law enforcement in Indian Country. 

More on Tribal Relations

November 27, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), vice chairman and chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, respectively, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Representatives Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.), led 46 members of Congress in introducing a bipartisan resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), recognizing its importance to promoting the stability and security of Tribal communities and families.
November 16, 2018 Weekly Columns

Existing throughout the fabric of our society are the unmistakable threads of Native American heritage. In Oklahoma, those threads are numerous and vibrant indeed.

As a member of the Chickasaw Nation, I am always proud that the month of November is set aside to draw national attention to the many contributions and significant achievements of tribal nations throughout history. Across the country, there are more than 530 federally-recognized tribes. In our state alone, there are 39 sovereign nations —including 11 located right in the Fourth District.

September 12, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) along with Representatives Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Steve Russell (OK-05) released the following statement after H.R. 2606, the Stigler Act Amendment of 2017, passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote. This legislation amends the Stigler Act of 1947, which restricts Native American allotted land to only persons of ½ degree of Native American blood.

June 13, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after H.R. 2606, the Stigler Act Amendment of 2017, was passed by the House Natural Resources Committee. This legislation amends the Stigler Act of 1947, which restricts Native American allotted land to only persons of ½ degree of Native American blood.
 
January 10, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed S. 140, the Tribal Labor, Water and Lands Package. This legislative measure packages three critical bills that promote tribal self-governance over tribal resources, lands and business regulations. Included in this package is the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, of which Cole is an original co-sponsor of.
 
November 6, 2017 Weekly Columns
A key element of America’s constitution is the relationship our nation has had with Native Americans. Although there are moments in history where that relationship has been strained, the federal government today has been a usually reliable supporter of tribal sovereignty and self-government – a concept enshrined in the Constitution. Native Americans are the ‘First People’ of our land, and the federal government has a responsibility to support their sovereignty and promote their well-being as citizens of this country. 
 
May 23, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after introducing the Stigler Act Amendment of 2017, along with Congressmen Lucas, Mullin and Russell. This legislation amends the Stigler Act of 1947, which restricts Native American allotted land to only persons of ½ degree of Native American blood heritage.
 
February 14, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 428, the Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act by a vote of 250-171. This legislation will provide a proper gradient boundary surveying method to settle the contested land ownership between the states of Oklahoma and Texas, and the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache tribes.
January 2, 2017 Weekly Columns

This week the 115th Congress will be sworn in and will immediately be faced with a host of challenges and opportunities. I am honored to serve another term as the Representative for the Fourth District of Oklahoma. When I was first elected in 2002, I was proud to serve with a Republican Administration and in the majority party in Congress. Six years later my party was the minority party and the United States had elected a Democratic president. In November 2016, the voters elected a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

December 20, 2016 Weekly Columns

When the 114th Congress began its session in January of 2015, many Americans had concerns about the direction of our nation, and the job approval of their Congressional leaders was appropriately low. After so many years of onerous executive overreach, House Republicans faced many challenges in the fight to block President Obama’s liberal agenda. There were many times that House Republicans have come close to making common sense conservative progress, only to be shot down by the president’s veto pen.

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