Victor A. Charlo is a Bitterroot Salish poet, playwright, and educator. He is an elder of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and a direct descendent of Chief Victor Charlot, who refused to sign the historic Hellgate Treaty of 1859. Born and raised in Evaro, on the Flathead Reservation in western Montana, Vic writes poems about reservation life, family and friends, justice, and his struggle to define himself walking in two worlds (Native and non-Native), especially when he was in the seminary in the 50s, studying to be a Jesuit.
His first book of poetry, Put Sey, published in 2008 by Many Voices Press, contains a few of the bear poems Vic was inspired to write as a result of a journey he took with bear researcher, Chuck Jonkel, to Churchill, Manitoba, to visit the polar bears in the 80s. Vic earned his BA from the University of Montana, and a Masters in Curriculum from Gonzaga University. In addition to his poems, he has co-written and produced plays with Zan Agzigian, his playwriting collaborator, which examine the real day-to-day lives and struggles of Native People. The Johnny Arlee and Victor A. Charlo Theater is located on the campus of Salish Kootenai College, in Pablo, MT.
Victor’s poetry is also in collaboration with two books of photography: Native American Ceremonial Dancers: The Hand Painted Silver Gelatin Prints of Kay Franke, (2013) and Still Here: Not Living in Tipis, with photographer Sue Reynolds (2013). Charlo reads regularly in public and in schools. He resides in Old Agency, Dixon, MT, with his cat, Seeley, and his four children, and grandchildren surrounding him nearby with great love and support.