About Karen Tootelian Westermann—


Karen has a love of language and has been writing since adolescence. As a young woman, she taught French and English to middle school students, and much to her students’ surprise, they came to love writing poetry.

In the summer of 2002, life presented Karen with a rare gift. She began a friendship with the eighty-nine-year-old Chief of the Mattaponi Tribe. As she had done for many years, she kept a journal—this one about the time she and the Chief spent together and about their fight to save the Mattaponi River from a reservoir. In 2007, her journals became a book, The Chief and I.

In other areas, Karen’s most gratifying work was in performing research, writing, and editing for First People’s Worldwide, a non-profit, Indigenous-owned organization that operates on the belief that Indigenous communities know their lands, their people, their problems—and their solutions.

As a writer-editor in career and technical education for nearly 20 years, she was most passionate about course development related to the environment, sustainability, and renewable energy.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Karen also lived in Ohio and Switzerland and found her way to rural Virginia, where she fell in love with its rivers. She now lives on the Mattaponi River where she walks, swims, kayak—and writes.

The Chief and I by Karen Tootelian
My poetry & other writing: karentootelian.wordpress.com
Writing & editing services:  http://karentootelian.wix.com/chickpea-wordworks
Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/ktootelian/

Close Menu