A proposal is expected in the next session of the Vermont Legislature that would grant state recognition to the Abenaki tribe. Jeff Benay is chairman of the governor’s commission on Native American Affairs. He says he expects a bipartisan bill to be introduced.
Benay suggests that might give the Abenaki leverage to obtain federal recognition. Benay would not say who might sponsor or co-sponsor any recognition bill. The Abenaki first applied for federal recognition in the 1980s, but pulled that application. The tribe applied again in 1992 and expects a ruling within the next two years.