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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 10, 2015 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

Ignoring a veto threat, House Republicans pushed through a bill Wednesday that would require a private survey to determine the Oklahoma-Texas border and mandate the sale of about 30,000 acres of public land along the Red River.

The bill, authored by several House members from Texas, was approved by a vote of 253-177, with all five members from Oklahoma in support. The legislation may not get a Senate vote, given the White House opposition.

November 25, 2015 Weekly Columns

The Hill - Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.)

In recent years and especially in the past months, there has been sensationalized news coverage about the controversial adoptions of Native American children into non-tribal families or their placement into foster care. Given the unfortunate coverage and several heartbreaking cases, it’s important to think back on how we got here and remember the centuries of injustice that Native families have faced.  

November 19, 2015 News Stories

Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study Hardvard University - Pat Harrison

Mary Kathryn Nagle wrote the play Sliver of a Full Moon—which will be read today at the Radcliffe Institute—because Native leaders asked her to. Nagle, an attorney and citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, was approached by tribal leaders in early 2013 who asked her to interview Native women survivors and share their stories. 

November 17, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 511, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2015. This legislation reaffirms the exemption of tribal governments from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), upholds tribal sovereignty and protects self-governance on tribal lands.
October 11, 2015 News Stories

Indian Country Today - Chickasaw Nation

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby marked the beginning of his unprecedented eighth consecutive term as governor during the historic inauguration ceremony October 1 in the Ataloa Theatre, on the campus of East Central University.

“It is a great honor to serve the Chickasaw people as governor of the Chickasaw Nation,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “We have made tremendous progress working together with the Chickasaw people. With their continued support, we believe our greatest achievements are yet to come.

October 8, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, released the following statement after he supported H.R. 538, the Native American Energy Act. The legislation lessens the federal regulatory burden imposed on the Native American tribes or individual tribal landowners when they seek to develop the natural resources on land that is held in federal trust.
October 6, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, praised an announcement made today by the Department of Interior along with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. Under the $186 million total settlement to resolve trust claims, the Chickasaw Nation will receive $46.5 million and the Choctaw Nation will receive $139.5 million.
September 17, 2015 News Stories

The Oklahoman- Chris Casteel

The Obama administration has proposed to pay Indian tribes nearly $1 billion to settle a long-running lawsuit alleging the government failed to pay the costs of running federal programs.

The $940 million settlement, filed in federal court in New Mexico, was announced by top officials at the Interior and Justice departments on Thursday.

August 20, 2015 Press Release
Ada, OK – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, the Chickasaw Nation, and Congressman Tom Cole today announced a first-ever federal grant to support a new Senior Corps Foster Grandparent Program. The goal of this program is to improve school readiness, ensuring children are on the pathway to academic success.
July 23, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04), co-chairs of the Native American Congressional Caucus, this week introduced H.R. 3137, to reaffirm the trust status of tribal trust lands. The legislation ensures that existing tribal lands will continue to be held in trust by the federal government and removes the uncertainty and ambiguities inherent within the Carcieri v. Salazar opinion.

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