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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

May 11, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives related to last summer’s ruling on McGirt vs. Oklahoma by the Supreme Court of the United States. If enacted, the legislation would authorize the Chickasaw Nation, Cherokee Nation and the State of Oklahoma to find agreement and compact without federal government involvement. It would also address the immediate issues facing law enforcement as a result of the ruling.
March 17, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2021.
November 20, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) this week led introduction of a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize November as National Native American Heritage Month, honoring tribal nations throughout history.
October 21, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Trump Administration unveiled Putting America’s First Peoples First.
August 28, 2020 News Stories
Native American and Alaska Native veterans would receive mental health care that's appropriate to their cultures under legislation announced Thursday by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole.
August 27, 2020 Press Release
Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) recently joined in introducing the bipartisan American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans Mental Health Act of 2020, which would ensure culturally competent mental health care for Native veterans.
July 20, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Oklahoma's congressional delegation today released the following joint statement regarding the ongoing negotiation between Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Tribal Nations on a proposal to Congress following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
July 9, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on McGirt v. Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives issued the following joint statement.
July 8, 2020 Press Release
Washington D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today commemorated 50 years since the federal policy of Indian self-determination was first put forward and led to eventual passage in Congress of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975.
May 8, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, released the following statement after the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced the selection of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma’s project for the Joint Venture Construction Program.

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