Chief | Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia
Chief Anne Richardson has served as Chief of the Rappahannock Tribe since 1998, the first woman Chief to lead a Tribe in Virginia since the 1700s. As a fourth-generation chief in her family, she brings to her position a long legacy of community leadership and service among her people. Chief Anne’s skills in reaching out to national, state, and local government, business, nonprofit, and individual resources are considerable as evidenced by the Tribe’s governance and organizational accomplishments.
She is leading the Tribe in the development of a Master Plan for Community & Economic Development, which will provide a path forward over the next five years, and a vision for the next generation of Tribal leaders. When the Tribe was acknowledged by the federal government in 2018, she led the work to stand up the government and build a highly qualified professional team of Tribal citizens and non-natives to lead the departments of Development, Economic Development, Emergency Services, Environmental Services, Finance, Housing, and Tribal Services. Her charge to these leaders is to build services for their Tribal citizens and the surrounding counties for the good of all.
Most recently, she worked in partnership with several conservation organizations to purchase 465 acres of their historic town Wecuppom on the Rappahannock River. The site unites the Tribe with their ancestral lands identified by Capt. John Smith in 1608, adjacent to the river that bears their name.
This is a big step forward in fulfilling Chief Anne Richardson’s vision of returning her Tribe to the great Rappahannock River Valley. As a part of that vision, she has protected critical habitat for eagles and waterfowl in the areas of the Rappahannock River Valley Wildlife Refuge and along the Chesapeake Trail. We have been hearing from many, including the Department of Interior’s Secretary Haaland’s office, that this Indigenous-led conservation project is truly ground-breaking for its role in supporting sovereignty and conservation in an authentic way – a conservation and racial justice victory.
In addition, Chief Anne led an Indigenous Cultural Landscape assessment in 2016, conducted by Drs. Julia King and Scott Strickland (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), which was completed in collaboration with the National Park Service and Chesapeake Conservancy. Since that point, Chief Anne Richardson and her tribe have been calling out the importance of protecting this landscape at Fones Cliffs, including the eagles which are sacred to her people.
Chief Anne’s career experience includes more than forty years working in financial management, developing and managing projects and staff, and managing a scholarship program for Native American students. Other volunteer work includes an appointment to the State Advisory Council to the US Commission on Civil Rights in 2001, membership on the WIB Workforce Board in Warsaw, VA, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chesapeake Conservancy in Annapolis, MD.