Charlottesville—Virginia Humanities announced today that Savannah Baber is serving as the new Coordinator for Virginia Indian Programs.
The position, established in 2007, is responsible for working with tribal nations throughout Virginia, identifying creative opportunities for collaboration, and finding ways Virginia Humanities can support Virginia’s Native communities. The role was previously held by Karenne Wood, a member of the Monacan Nation, until her passing in 2019.
Baber descends from both the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia and the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and has spent much of her life traveling between the two communities.
“I am excited to join Virginia Humanities in this important role,” Baber said. “It is vital that Virginia’s tribal nations are given the respect and leadership they deserve, and this role allows me to listen and learn the ways in which Virginia Humanities can be most supportive of the goals, aspirations, and narratives set by our state’s first people.”
Baber is a graduate of Wake Forest University and holds the distinction of being the institution’s first nationally recognized Udall Scholar for her undergraduate academic accomplishments in the field of tribal public policy. As a student, she completed internships with the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Upon her graduation, Baber stayed at Wake Forest as the Assistant Director of the Intercultural Center where she helped institute the university’s indigenous land acknowledgment and designed extracurricular programs that encouraged further learning about indigenous peoples, communities, and politics.
“Virginia Humanities is passionate about sharing inclusive histories of Virginia and its people,” executive director Matthew Gibson said. “Our hope is that by having a more complete history— that begins with the first peoples and custodians of this land we call Virginia—all Virginians will have a more complete and rich understanding of who we are as a Commonwealth, today.”
Baber joins Virginia Humanities’ team of 35 staff members working on programs including Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Folklife, the With Good Reason radio show and podcast, Virginia Festival of the Book, and Virginia Center for the Book.
- Read about the Chickahominy Tribe in Encyclopedia Virginia
- Explore the Virginia Indian Trail Guide in Discovery Virginia
- Remembering Karnne Wood