Kelty grew up in Secwepemc territory in the city of Kamloops, BC and is now based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. She is 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 right that this exciting journey has brought her to MT+Co. In addition to the common law curriculum, she’s learned Gitxsan property law, Cree criminal law, Anishinaabe constitutional law, Coast Salish duties of care, and Tsilhqot’in perspectives on contractual obligations, working transystemically to analyze 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 hopes to bring her creative and people skills to serving clients and communities in the legal field, and to supporting the full recognition and implementation of Indigenous legal orders. She understands Canada as a multi-juridical territory of many nations, and that is how she looks forward to practicing law.
“MT+Co is quite simply an amazing place to work. It’s a place to grow, build community, and have fun while working with some of the best minds in law. I love its collaborative and values-based approach, modeling sorely-needed reforms in the legal field. I respect the fact that it is a leading firm in embracing Indigenous legal orders as part of its practice, with humility and a desire to learn. Most of all, it’s a place to do meaningful, challenging work alongside people I really, really like.”
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.