Kelty grew up in Secwepemc territory in the city of Kamloops, BC. To this day she loves the desert, although she’s pretty happy to find a home in the lushness of Coast Salish territories. Kelty has the honour of being part of the first cohort of the JD/JID Joint Degree Program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders at the University of Victoria. It seems absolutely right that this exciting journey has brought her to MT+Co. This year, in addition to the common law curriculum, she’s learned Gitxsan Property Law, Cree Criminal Law, and Anishinaabe Constitutional Law, working transystemically to analyze legal problems from multiple legal perspectives. Before law school, her work took place at the intersection of community engagement, advocacy, and the arts, and she has a Master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Kelty looks forward to bringing her creative and people skills to serving clients and communities in the legal field.
“I am drawn to MT+Co’s grounded, client-centred, and values-driven approach. I sense that it’s a place not only to work, but to meet like-minded people and build community. And of course, I’m thrilled to have the mentorship of Tamara Napoleon and Merle Alexander. I know that I’m going to be learning from people at the top of their field who are in it for the right reasons. “
Kelty worked for many years with the Downtown Eastside community in Vancouver, including at a harm reduction centre dedicated to the rights of people who use drugs. She had the privilege to learn about the work this community does to fight stigma, transform drug policy, and prevent overdose deaths resulting from the opioid overdose crisis. She also has experience with intercultural community-engaged arts practice as a method for community development, resilience, and building bridges between diverse groups of people. Kelty believes that this experience gives her a unique lens with which to learn about and support Indigenous legal orders. She understands Canada as a multi-juridical territory of many nations, and that is how she hopes to eventually practice law.
Kelty lived in Ecuador as part of an Intercultural Rotary Exchange after graduating high school, and became fluent in Spanish. This is probably what led her to fall in love with flamenco (see below)!
She’s completed many trainings and courses in her harm reduction and mental health work, including in Indigenous Cultural Literacy and Trauma-Informed/Somatic Therapy. Through her dance and bodywork training, she explored many modalities that have been useful in understanding the body-based nature of trauma.
Kelty worked as Program Manager at the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. She teaches a module on Community Arts and Social Contexts in the Master’s level Expressive Arts Therapy Certificate Program in Vancouver.
Early on, Kelty fell in love with flamenco dance and singing and studied in Vancouver and Spain for many years. She shared that love by leading flamenco dance classes in the Downtown Eastside and organizing community shows with the DTES Heart of the City Festival for 7 consecutive years. Law school is busy, but Kelty can still be found performing at Vancouver’s Kino Café from time to time.
+I’m not a lawyer, but I’m close to it.