U.S. House of Representatives
The bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus recently established its leadership for the 117th Congress with Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS) serving as Co-Chairs. As part its mission to encourage dialogue about issues affecting Native Americans, the caucus regularly convenes briefings, considers the impact of legislation on tribal nations and provides a forum for members on both sides of the aisle to exchange information, ideas and research.
“Alongside our new Co-Chair Sharice Davids, I am proud to continue leading the Congressional Native American Caucus,” said Co-Chair Tom Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. “Long before the United States was established, tribes greatly influenced the land in which we live. Indeed, as a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, I grew up hearing stories about my own ancestors and learned to value the special heritage and culture that belongs to tribal nations and their members. 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.”
“It is an honor to lead the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus alongside Co-Chair Tom Cole,” said Co-Chair Sharice Davids. “In this role, I will continue to work to educate our colleagues on the federal government’s indispensable trust responsibility, and to ensure that we always uphold tribal sovereignty. I look forward to advancing tribal voices and working with the Congressional Native American Caucus on matters vital to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, such as addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing access to quality healthcare, investing in infrastructure like broadband, and combatting the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people.”
In addition to establishing Co-Chairs, the caucus also named the following Vice Chairs:
- Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
- Congressman David Joyce (R-OH)
- Congressman Kai Kahele (D-HI)
- Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
- Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Co-Chair Emeritus
- Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
- Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
- Congressman Don Young (R-AK)
About the Co-Chairs
Elected in 2002 and Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus since 2009, Congressman Tom Cole is considered the foremost expert in the House on issues related to Native Americans and tribal governments. An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, Cole is one of only five Native Americans currently serving in Congress. The National Congress of American Indians has recognized Cole’s distinguished service with the Congressional Leadership award on three different occasions, more than any other Member of Congress in the history of the organization. He was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 2018, Representative Sharice Davids was elected to represent Kansas’ Third Congressional District, becoming one of the first Native American women to ever serve in Congress. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and has lived and worked on Native American reservations, where she partnered with tribes to create economic development opportunities, programs, and initiatives. Davids regularly speaks at conferences as a nationally recognized expert on economic and community development in Native communities.