WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY)- Soon you’ll see a new nation-builder walking the cobblestone streets of Colonial Williamsburg.

It’s part of an effort to expand the number of diverse stories told.

In the fall, Kody Grant will debut as Oconostota, a prominent Cherokee war chief in the 18th Century. He will be the first American Indian nation-builder for the foundation.

“We’ve always been represented in the historical narrative. The problem is it’s always in two different extremes,” said Grant, who is the lead interpreter for the foundation’s American Indian Initiative. “We’re either the holy, good people who are always loving and kind and just the victims of colonialism, or the bloodthirsty merciless savages who are hindering American expansion. But, we’re rarely ever seen as human within our own story.”

Grant started working for Colonial Williamsburg 15 years ago after he was recruited from his work in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Grant, who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and descendant of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, says he grew up more interested in learning about medieval and ancient history.

But after moving to Cherokee and working with historical interpretation there, he became more interested in American Indian history.

When he steps into his new role, he’ll be able to tell those stories he’s learned among other nation-builders like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

“By telling these stories, we’re opening that up to see American Indian people as generals, head wives, brothers, fathers, politicians, and all that make up that society in the 18th Century, who think different, make up a different society, have a different government, religious structure, concepts on society, and laws. It’s telling how these different people were navigating the time they were facing,” Grant said.

Joe Ziarko, who is the nation-builder supervisor and George Mason nation-builder, says they’re excited about the new addition.

Grant is the 13th nation-builder and Ziarko says it’s important to expand the narratives — but it wasn’t easy finding the right addition due to the lack of preserving American Indian stories.

“America has kept its history from a western perspective. The stories of native people were marginalized and not ever recorded like less significant white Virginians, and this has been true with African American history for a long time, but American Indian history too,” he said.

Ziarko says Grant is the right fit for the part, which they’d been thinking about for years.

In 2002, Colonial Williamsburg committed to sharing the history of American Indians with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Ziarko says adding more diverse stories that were involved with the creation of the United States is needed.

“When we think about representation and stories being told. I was asked why would I care about the man who painted the building where this idea was thought in, or laid the bricks to where the Declaration was read in. I think the answer is, well, if that was your ancestor, the story would matter to you,” he said. “I think we need to get the greatest diversity we have in this because all that matters is representation.”

Ziarko hopes that the expansion of the nation-builders will provide the younger generations with stories many didn’t grow up learning.

In the meantime, Grant will conduct in-depth research of Oconostota leading up to his debut and hopes he is not the last American Indian nation-builder.

“My personal hope is within five to ten years, is to not be the only American Indian nation-builder. My hope is that there will be a multitude of people who come on board and take a piece of the story also because when we talk about the idea of diversity in the 18th Century, it’s not just the idea of having an American Indian person talking about the historical record. It’s about having different people from different talking about the community. So, the way a Cherokee person in the 18th century thinks is completely different from the way a Shawnee person thinks, a Creek person thinks,” he said.