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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

December 8, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the passage of the short-term Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (Continuing Resolution), H.R. 2028, which passed by a vote of 326-96.
December 6, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he sent a letter to Chairman Fred Upton, Chairman Kevin Brady and Speaker Paul Ryan, urging them to retain the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) in any contemplated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) repeal.
November 7, 2016 Weekly Columns
The life and culture of our nation’s Native American tribes are written in nearly every chapter of America’s story. It is rich with the traditions, languages, changes, notable names, and much more. Although we honor those legacies and traditions this month, we remember the contributions that our Native American ancestors brought before us every day.  
September 14, 2016 Press Release
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – U.S. Congressman Tom Cole will be recognized as the Red Earth Ambassador of the Year during an 11:30 am luncheon scheduled Wednesday, October 12 in the Eclipse Room at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park.. The Red Earth Ambassador of the Year award recognizes individuals, not necessarily of Native American descent, who have made significant contributions in presenting a positive image of American Indians.
July 14, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5538, the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017.
March 8, 2016 News Stories
Osiyo. It was a historic achievement for the Cherokee Nation recently as the tribe negotiated, finalized and signed a Joint Venture Construction Program agreement with Indian Health Service to provide a new world-class health facility at our WW Hastings Hospital campus in Tahlequah.
March 6, 2016 News Stories
The Cherokee Nation signed an agreement with Indian Health Service on Feb. 24 to secure the largest joint venture funding project ever among tribes. The agreement allows for IHS to fund the hospital at an estimated $80 million or more per year. The funding would last a minimum of 20 years, or potentially for the life of the hospital.
February 25, 2016 News Stories
The Cherokee Nation signed an agreement Wednesday with the Indian Health Service to secure the largest joint-venture funding project ever among tribes to build a 450,000-square-foot health center in Tahlequah.
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.