Profiles of a Nation

Our People — The Enduring Spirit of the Chickasaw Nation

A thousand different voices call the Chickasaw tribe their own: artists, designers, engineers and leaders echo a spirit of fortitude passed down from their ancestors. They are Chickasaw, a living embodiment of what it means to be different but unified. These are their lives — the Profiles of a Nation.

Tom Cole

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Thomas Jeffery Cole is one of the few Native Americans currently serving in Congress. The proud member of the Chickasaw Nation and fifth-generation Oklahoman serves as the Deputy Majority Whip.

Cole holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Grinnell College. He went on to obtain an M.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in British history. Cole worked as a history professor before launching his successful political career.

Cole is highly esteemed as one of the Republican Party’s top strategists. He served briefly in the Oklahoma Senate from 1988 to 1991. Cole was later elected to represent Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District in the House of Representatives and assumed office in 2003. He represents ten counties within the borders of the Chickasaw Nation.

Tom Cole was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004. His mother, Helen Cole, is also a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame. She served as a senator and member of the House of Representatives as well.


  • Inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame (2004)
  • Awarded the Congressional Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians (2007 and 2011)
  • Oklahoma Senator (1988-1991)
  • Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (2006-2008)
  • 4th-ranking Republican leader in the House of Representatives during his tenure

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