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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.

I am proud to continue leading as co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. The caucus remains a vitally important body in the House for informing and educating members on the unique issues concerning Native Americans and the constitutional rights of tribes.”

More on Tribal Relations

May 5, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced a path forward for swiftly getting Coronavirus Relief Fund money to tribal nations.
April 24, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, applauded the Small Business Administration’s announcement that all tribal entities are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
February 18, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Ruben Gallego, Deb Haaland and Tom Cole introduced the Bridging the Tribal Digital Divide Act of 2020 last week to accelerate the deployment of broadband services to Native communities and bridge the digital divide facing Native communities.
December 20, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressional Native American Caucus Co-Chairs Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) led a group of bipartisan congressional leaders calling for the passage of the bipartisan House version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
December 13, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, a group of 25 senators and 52 representatives filed an amicus brief in federal court making the case for the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
December 9, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Members of Congress, and advocates celebrated the passage of the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Programs Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill to safeguard and revitalize Native American languages.
December 5, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Denny Heck, Scott Tipton, Deb Haaland, Tom Cole, Ben Ray Luján, Don Young, Tulsi Gabbard and Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) through 2024.
November 26, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) applauded the Trump Administration’s recent actions to combat the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous persons.
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.