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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

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.
July 8, 2015 News Stories

Indian Country Today - Harlan McKosato

The campaign to bring the remains of legendary Native athlete Jim Thorpe home is gathering support after lawyers representing Thorpe’s two remaining sons, Bill and Richard Thorpe, along with the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, filed a writ of certiorari to petition the Court to hear their case after losing in U.S Appeals Court last October.

June 12, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced that her bipartisan bill to improve the lives of Native children was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) helped introduce the bill in the Senate, where it unanimously passed less than two weeks ago.
March 23, 2015 Speech
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made remarks on the House floor in support of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act (NAHASDA) of 2015.
November 12, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after it was announced that Dr. Suzan Harjo will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this month. A native of Oklahoma, Harjo is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and has long advocated for Native Americans, including as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians and currently as the President of the Morning Star Institute.

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