HJ420: Celebrating the life of Karenne Wood.

Offered March 2, 2020
Celebrating the life of Karenne Wood.
Patrons-- Hudson; Senator: Deeds

WHEREAS, Karenne Wood, a scholar and poet who was a passionate and effective advocate on behalf of Native American tribal groups in the Commonwealth and throughout the United States, died on July 21, 2019; and

WHEREAS, born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area, Karenne Wood earned a master of fine arts degree from George Mason University and later a doctoral degree in anthropology from the University of Virginia, where she was a Ford Fellow; and

WHEREAS, a member of the Monacan Indian Nation, Karenne Wood would dedicate much of her life to improving people’s understanding and awareness of indigenous cultures and how Native American groups fit into both the history of the United States and its society today; and

WHEREAS, Karenne Wood was instrumental in securing federal recognition for the Monacan Indian Nation in 2018; she was successful in encouraging the University of Virginia, which was built on ancestral lands of the Monacan Indian Nation, to pay tribute to this legacy through formal acknowledgements, including a Monacan blessing she recited to open the university’s bicentennial celebrations in 2017; and

WHEREAS, Karenne Wood joined the Virginia Humanities board in 2004 as its first Virginia Indian representative, later joining the staff in 2007 to manage the organization’s Virginia Indian Program; in recognition of her work with Virginia Humanities, which included updating the state’s Standards of Learning curriculum to modernize the study of Virginia Indian history; the organization won the Schwartz Award in 2009, the Federation of State Humanities Councils’ highest honor; and

WHEREAS, Karenne Wood advocated for better representation for Native American groups and the repatriation of their sacred artifacts through her work with several organizations, including the Association on American Indian Affairs, the Virginia Council on Indians, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Congress of American Indians’ Repatriation Commission; and

WHEREAS, an accomplished poet and recipient of the Diane Decorah Award for Poetry from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, Karenne Wood published two collections, Markings on Earth and Weaving the Boundary, and was featured in several poetry anthologies throughout her career; and

WHEREAS, Karenne Wood was distinguished as one of the “Virginia Women in History” as part of the Library of Virginia’s exhibition in 2015, bringing greater attention to the ways she and the Monacan Indian Nation have enriched Virginia’s past and present; and

WHEREAS, Karenne Wood will be fondly remembered and dearly missed by her children, Adrienne and Emily, and their families; her mother, Gwendolyn; and numerous other family members and friends; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of Karenne Wood, who touched countless lives as an advocate, poet, scholar, and friend; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of Karenne Wood as an expression of the General Assembly’s respect for her memory.