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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Native American Heritage Month Resolution Filed in House

November 8, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, a coalition of congressional champions for Native American communities introduced a resolution recognizing the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month. The resolution recognizes the contributions of Native Americans along with the need to strengthen the United States’ government-to-government relationship with Native Nations. Original co-sponsors of the Native American Heritage Month Resolution are Reps. Deb Haaland (NM-01), Tom Cole (OK-04), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-02).   

The House Resolution raises awareness about the complex Native American history in the United States and the unique challenges those communities continue to face as a result of forced assimilation and genocide. Additionally, it honors Native American veterans and service members in the United States who have consistently served at higher rates than any other group of people and recognizes the use of indigenous languages during WWI and WWII. Lastly, this resolution reinforces the federal government's trust responsibility promised during Indian treaty negotiations and the continuation of the unique government-to-government relationship that the United States has with each of the 573 federally recognized Native Nations. 

“This month is set aside to celebrate Native American contributions to this country, but also to recognize the failure of the federal government to uphold its trust responsibility to Native Nations. Native Americans have overcome many hardships since the onset of colonization including federally-mandated genocide and devastating federal policies including assimilation and removal eras. And we're still here. This month, we must celebrate the resilience of our Native American communities, and work to ensure the federal government lives up to its trust responsibility to Native Nations,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. 

“As Americans, it is important to remember the role tribes and their leaders have played in our collective history” said Congressman Cole, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. “Though November is the designated month to celebrate and reflect on the rich history of Native Americans, I consider the importance of my own Chickasaw tribal heritage every day with great pride. And especially because of my tribal heritage and upbringing in Oklahoma, I have always counted it a privilege and honor to represent the interests and constitutionally-given rights of tribes in the U.S. House of Representatives. While the historic relationship between the federal government and tribal nations has at times been estranged, Native American issues should always encourage bipartisan cooperation and attention. I am proud that two such bipartisan bodies exist in the House, including a truly bipartisan tribal delegation of four along with members on both sides of the aisle belonging to the Congressional Native American Caucus. I am encouraged that together we can further promote policies that affirm and protect the rights of tribes and preserve the promises made by the federal government.”

“Native American Heritage Month is a time to acknowledge and pay tribute to the unique heritages, cultures and contributions of indigenous people in our country. I’m proud to co-sponsor this resolution to recognize Native American Heritage Month, honor Native Veterans like my mom, and strengthen the government-to-government relationship between the federal government  and our Native Nations,” said Congresswoman Sharice Davids, member of the Congressional Native American Caucus. 

“I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing November as Native American Heritage Month. This month is an opportunity to honor the unique history and culture of Native peoples as well as their contributions to America. I look forward to using this Native American Heritage Month to celebrate and continue to learn from Indigenous communities across this land,” said Ruben Gallego, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

“The American story is the Native American story, yet too often Indigenous communities are left out of the national conversation,” said Raúl M. Grijalva, Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to commemorate Native American Heritage Month and renew our pledge to protect tribal sovereignty, uphold the federal trust responsibility, and honor the legacy of the Native Nations who remain such an integral part of America’s cultural fabric.”

“Every November, we honor the contributions made by the First Americans by observing National Native American Heritage Month. I am proud to cosponsor this important legislation that emphasizes tribal nations’ vital in our national history, and celebrate how tribal nations make our communities stronger. As we recognize the achievements of our Native American brothers and sisters, we must also recommit ourselves to addressing the disparities facing Indian Country and meeting our trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations,” said Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Co-Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

“This month gives all Americans the opportunity to celebrate the legacy of the first people who called this land home. Our history and sovereignty are what bind us together. I am proud to embrace my Cherokee heritage and I believe that our heritage and traditions should be celebrated not only this month, but year round,” said Congressman Markwayne Mullin, member of Congressional Native American Caucus.

Full resolution is available here.