With growing numbers comes the need to update policies and procedures, and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tag Agency is no stranger to such an endeavor. Since its establishment in May 2005, the tag agency has overseen the registration, sale and distribution of CPN license plates.

The ability to sell car tags to registered Citizen Potawatomi is enshrined in law. According to the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act, “(Indian Tribal License Plates) shall be designed for any vehicle of a native American Indian Tribal Association … and used by the tribal association exclusively for the furtherance of its tribal functions.”

The CPN Tag Agency license all manner of vehicles including automobiles, motorcycles, utility trailers and farm vehicles. Special veterans’ tags and non-use decal Black Tags are available also to qualifying Tribal members.

As Tribal enrollment rises, so has the number of registered vehicles. However, the growth in those figures – there have been more than 29,000 tags issued since 2005 – requires more oversight from the tag agency.

“After suggestions from our fantastic tag agency staff, the Tribal administration agreed to support some legislative changes and policy updates to govern our license plate policies going forward,” said Tribal Vice-Chairman Linda Capps.

The CPN Legislature approved the changes on May 30, 2019. Legislators amended several parts of Title 47, Transportation of the CPN Tribal Code.

For those registering a vehicle, only seven tags per CPN member are available. If any Tribal member is out of compliance with this new rule, they are encouraged to contact the tag agency as soon as possible.

If a vehicle is sold with Tribal tags, those tags must be returned and cannot be passed on to the next owner of the vehicle. Only spouses, parents or legal guardians, children, grandparents or a grandchild can be on the title of a vehicle with a CPN license plate. License plates are only for the use of Tribal members or those with the aforementioned connections.

“The issuance of Tribal tags requires the responsible exercise of tribal sovereignty,” explained CPN District Court Judge Phillip Lujan. “Unfortunately there are those who attempt to abuse this priviledge of Tribal membership. The changes address issues which reinforce the responsible administration of the CPN Tag Agency and protect the rights of all Tribal members.”

“We really want to encourage people, if they have questions, to call us first,” said CPN Tag Agency Manager Cheryl Tainpeah. “Our staff is here to help people understand some of the differences and provide the resources they need before they come out to see us.”

Forms for many of the CPN Tag Agency services are available at cpn.news/tag. Toll-free calling is available at 1-800-880-9880. For local residents, standard rates apply by calling 405-273-1009.