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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

December 15, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President-Elect Donald Trump nominated Congressman Ryan Zinke (MT-At Large) to serve as Secretary of the Interior. Congressman Zinke has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2015 and is currently a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
 
December 8, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the passage of S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which was passed by a vote of 360-61. This legislation would authorize appropriations for numerous water infrastructure projects, natural resources projects, settlements, and much more. Included as well is the Oklahoma Water Rights Settlement between the city of Oklahoma City, the state of Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation.
 
December 8, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the passage of the short-term Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (Continuing Resolution), H.R. 2028, which passed by a vote of 326-96 . This legislation prevents a government shutdown and will continue funding federal programs and agencies until April 28, 2017.
 
December 6, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he sent a letter to Chairman Fred Upton, Chairman Kevin Brady and Speaker Paul Ryan, urging them to retain the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) in any contemplated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) repeal. These provisions are the bedrock legal authorities for health care services for American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
 
November 7, 2016 Weekly Columns
The life and culture of our nation’s Native American tribes are written in nearly every chapter of America’s story. It is rich with the traditions, languages, changes, notable names, and much more. Although we honor those legacies and traditions this month, we remember the contributions that our Native American ancestors brought before us every day.  
 
September 14, 2016 Press Release
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – U.S. Congressman Tom Cole will be recognized as the Red Earth Ambassador of the Year during an 11:30 am luncheon scheduled Wednesday, October 12 in the Eclipse Room at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park.. The Red Earth Ambassador of the Year award recognizes individuals, not necessarily of Native American descent, who have made significant contributions in presenting a positive image of American Indians.
 
July 14, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5538, the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017.
 
March 8, 2016 News Stories
Osiyo. It was a historic achievement for the Cherokee Nation recently as the tribe negotiated, finalized and signed a Joint Venture Construction Program agreement with Indian Health Service to provide a new world-class health facility at our WW Hastings Hospital campus in Tahlequah.
March 6, 2016 News Stories
The Cherokee Nation signed an agreement with Indian Health Service on Feb. 24 to secure the largest joint venture funding project ever among tribes. The agreement allows for IHS to fund the hospital at an estimated $80 million or more per year. The funding would last a minimum of 20 years, or potentially for the life of the hospital.
February 25, 2016 News Stories
The Cherokee Nation signed an agreement Wednesday with the Indian Health Service to secure the largest joint-venture funding project ever among tribes to build a 450,000-square-foot health center in Tahlequah.

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