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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

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

April 3, 2012 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the announcement that Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk is stepping down from his role in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to accept a position with the Mormon Church:

November 30, 2010 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after House passage of H.R. 4783, the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. The legislation provides for the settlement of a 14-year-old class action suit in which over 500,000 American Indians sought an accounting of mismanaged trust accounts held by the United States for the benefit of individual Indian beneficiaries. The legislation passed the Senate on November 19 by unanimous consent, and a similar measure has twice passed the House.

July 22, 2010 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement after the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior approved language to amend the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes. The policy would address issues created by the Carcieri v. Salazar decision:

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