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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 a variety of services and payments to tribes, 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 obligations. That requires Washington to appropriately fund healthcare, education, infrastructure and law enforcement in Indian Country. 

More on Tribal Relations

November 19, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Congressman Don Young (AK-AL) introduced the Indian Buffalo Management Act of 2019.
November 8, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, a coalition of congressional champions for Native American communities introduced a resolution recognizing the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month.
October 31, 2019 Weekly Columns
The month of November was first proclaimed “National American Indian Heritage Month” by the late President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Nearly 30 years later, November remains a special time to acknowledge the contributions and importance of tribes and their members in the United States.
October 27, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after hearing about the passing of Gregory Pyle, the former Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
October 23, 2019 Weekly Columns
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the unacceptable existence of domestic violence in communities across the nation, and we join in strong support of victims and survivors.
September 26, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Tom Cole (OK-04), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) re-introduced the bipartisan Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act.
September 20, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) joined several other lawmakers introducing H.Res. 570, a resolution commemorating the 20th anniversary of CDC's REACH, program.
September 11, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Deb Haaland (NM-01), who introduced the Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety (BADGES) for Native Communities Act today on the 25th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
July 23, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), U.S. Assistant House Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and U.S. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska), Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) announced the introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral Native American Seeds Protection Act of 2019.
July 18, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, members in both chambers of Congress reintroduced the bipartisan Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, a bill to prohibit the exporting of sacred Native American items and increase penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking tribal cultural patrimony.

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