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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

May 15, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C.—Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 375, To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian Tribes, and for other purposes.
April 4, 2019 Speech
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today voted in support of H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Act.
March 28, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) cosponsored legislation to break cycles of poverty in Indian Country through smart economic development. The legislation was introduced by Native American Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) and has bipartisan support from Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA).
January 30, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – This week, the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus established its leadership for the 116th Congress. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) will serve as co-chairs of the caucus. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) will remain on the caucus as Co-Chair Emeritus.
January 16, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) along with U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and Don Young (R-Alaska) filed an amicus brief in federal court making the case for the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
December 20, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) issued the following statements after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the final version of H.R. 2606, the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018.
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.
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.
 

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