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State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint Concurrent House Resolution

H.C.R.  15

House concurrent resolution honoring Jeff Benay for his service as chair of the governor’s advisory commission on Native American affairs

Offered by:   Representatives Branagan of Georgia and Gilbert of Fairfax

Offered by: Senators Illuzzi, Collins, and Kittell

Whereas, for 30 years, Jeff Benay has worked as an educator and advocate on behalf of Native Americans in Vermont, especially those of Abenaki heritage, and

Whereas, this three-decade commitment to supporting the historic rights of the Abenaki community began in 1977 when the late Missisquoi Abenaki chief, Homer St. Francis, hired him for the position of director of Indian education in the Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union, and

Whereas, in 1991, in recognition of Jeff Benay’s Native American expertise and interest, Governor Dean designated him as chair of the newly established governor’s advisory commission on Native American affairs, and

Whereas, as chair of the commission, he served as a liaison between the Abenaki people and Vermont state government, both as an advocate on their behalf and as a mutually respected intermediary when conflicts arose, and

Whereas, under the leadership of Jeff Benay, the commission succeeded in securing grants for projects that improved the quality of life for the Abenaki people, and

Whereas, he played a critical role in the restoration of tribal members’ remains for reburial in a dignified manner in accordance with Abenaki traditions, and

Whereas, without doubt, Jeff Benay’s most important accomplishment was helping to facilitate the enactment in 2006 of Act No. 125, “An act relating to the recognition of the Abenaki people,” a goal that had been sought for decades, and

Whereas, with the enactment of Act No. 125, and its establishment of the new commission on Native American affairs as the successor to the governor’s advisory commission, Jeff Benay has decided to conclude his state service on behalf of Native Americans, but he will continue to be actively involved in Abenaki affairs, especially in his role as coordinator of Indian education in the Franklin County schools, now therefore be it 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

     That the General Assembly honors Jeff Benay for his outstanding service from 1991 to 2006 as chair of the governor’s commission on Native American affairs, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Jeff Benay at the Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union in Swanton.


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont