New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2001
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Benny Atencio
Mr. Benny Atencio, of Santo Domingo Pueblo, has served many years of public service in New Mexico. As one of the most respected tribal residents and public servants in the past fifty years, Benedito "Benny" Atencio is known for his persistence, reliability, and honesty. In 1959, Mr. Atencio was appointed spokesman of the Santo Domingo Council and the following year appointed Tribal Secretary. Since that time he has served in this position while performing many other functions at Santo Domingo.
Mr. Atencio served as treasurer of the All Indian Pueblo Council for six years, and then served a two-year term as chairman. During this time, he was involved in negotiations and planning stages of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, located in Albuquerque. In 1967, Governor David Cargo appointed Mr. Atencio to the State Movie Commission; in 1971 Governor Bruce King selected him for the New Mexico Bicentennial Commission; and in 1983 Governor Toney Anaya assigned him to the State Fair Commission. For his work, the National Congress of American Indians honored him in 1992 during its annual conference in Washington, D.C.
Because of his concern that the younger generation remains involved in pueblo life, Mr. Atencio is active in Indian education. He is often called on to speak about pueblo life and pueblo issues to high school students.