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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

April 1, 2013 News Stories

Chickasaw Times - Tom Bolitho

The Indian women of the U.S.won a huge victory March 7 when President Barack Obama signed the bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

The bill was signed by the President at the U.S. Department of Interior with a score of Indian women there in support. Also invited to the signing was the key Indian Congressman who was the driving force behind the new “teeth” in the bill – U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, a Chickasaw.

March 7, 2013 Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of S.47, the Violence Against Women Act:

I want to praise Leader Cantor for his hard work and effort to truly understand the problems Indian women face.  The House version has improved tremendously over what this body passed last Congress, and that is due in large part to Leader Cantor’s efforts.

March 4, 2013 Weekly Columns

The rate of domestic violence and sexual assault for Native American women has reached epidemic proportions due in large part to a stunning legal loophole that severely limits tribal ability to prosecute these crimes.  Until recently, non-Indians accused of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes against tribal members could only be prosecuted by the federal government and some states – not by the local tribal courts. 

February 28, 2013 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act.  The legislation recognizes the jurisdiction of tribal courts over non-Indian offenders arrested for committing domestic violence or assault against women.  Under current law, non-Indians accused of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes against tribal members can only be prosecuted by the federal government and some states, but the U.S.

January 14, 2013 News Stories

Armoreite - Staff Report

Oklahoma Fourth District Representative Tom Cole said that the Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center in Ada "sets the standard" for this type of facility.
 
Cole visited the center one week after Congress voted to renew the Special Diabetes Program for Indians as part of the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012.

"I've seen any number of these things, and this is probably the premier diabetes prevention, treatment and research center in Indian Country," Cole said.

January 4, 2013 News Stories

Cherokee One Feather - Staff Report

December 19, 2012 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5862, his bill to allow the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (O-Gah-Pah) and its tribal members to pursue their Indian trust-related claims in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  The Quapaw Tribe sought relief in court for accounting of funds held in trust for the tribe and the tribe’s members and agreed to mediation with the federal government. However, the federal government's failure to abide by the agreement has left the tribe with no resolution or recourse for 10 years.

July 24, 2012 Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 2362 - the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act, which he authored.  This legislation would eliminate red tape in the tribal leasing process to facilitate U.S. trade with international partners and help economic development on tribal land.  Capitalizing on the interest overseas companies have shown in working with Indian tribes, H.R.

July 23, 2012 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) released the following statement after the House vote on H.R. 2362 - the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act, which he authored.  This legislation would eliminate red tape in the tribal leasing process to facilitate U.S. trade with international partners and help economic development on tribal land.  Capitalizing on the interest overseas companies have shown in working with Indian tribes, H.R.

May 21, 2012 Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of HR 205, the Hearth Act

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