My name is Jaay (Jade) Kulhawy-Bartlett (she/her)
I am a 14th generation settler to the lands of this continent, at the furthest extent of my genealogical history. My paternal grandmother’s line was primarily made up of 17th century colonizers of “New France” from France. My paternal grandfather’s line was a mix of 17th century British colonizers of “New England” and 20th century settlers from Norway who came to contribute to the invasion of the prairies. My mother’s side consists of 19th century British settlers and 20th century Ukrainian settlers.
I was born on the far western reaches of Treaty 6 territory – Hinton, AB. Native-land.ca shows this area as shared by the Cree, Stoney, Tsuut’ina, and Métis. I moved to Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, AB) for university, studying – and completing – a Bachelor of Science in materials engineering. By the end of the program it was clear to me that I did not want to pursue work in that field and so I took a few years to get involved in local activist communities and take some further schooling in the arts and humanities to broaden my worldview. It was during this time I first got the impression that healing our bodies, minds, and spirits is a necessary component of any meaningful social movement.
My next move was to the territories of the L’kwungen-speaking peoples to pursue a diploma of acupuncture at Pacific Rim College. Graduating and writing my licensing exams in the first year of the pandemic, I have been a Registered Acupuncturist in BC since December 2021.
And here are my answers to a few interview questions to make this a bit more relevant to the times we are in:
My go-to activities to pass the time during quarantine:
Early on it was mostly being in a liminal state, having vivid dreams every night and spending every evening in ritual. I took on a major family genealogical research project, to make sense of my future by understanding the past. I also leaned more heavily into gardening as a pastime/way to develop skills and knowledge necessary in a rapidly changing world.
I also finished my acupuncture diploma, studied for/passed the licensing exam, and started my private practice – all during the first year and a half of quarantine.
An intention for the world in this time of uncertainty:
I hope that, as we weather more and greater crises together, we can find a way to balance our needs and desires as individuals with the collective responsibilities we have toward each other. It seemed for a while there that maybe we would hit a tipping point in turning away from the individualism that underpins a lot of how our society is structured. We have since seen somewhat of a rebound and push back against organizing ourselves in a way that seeks to take care of the most vulnerable and prone to exclusion or harm. May this be part of a bigger cycle toward a deeper commitment to collectivism and mutual aid.
Things you are grateful for (in no particular order):
Cats and their ability to know when something is wrong and be the best (although least sanitary) nurses.
Plants and gardens and the ecosystems they sustain and contain. As well as the lessons they show us about cycles and flows through and across the days, the seasons, the years.
People who keep us curious, playful, and vital, especially my partner Lomie.
Finding a role I feel honoured and privileged to fill in my community, to be trusted to travel alongside so many of you in your endlessly storied journeys.
The people who love me and access I have to medicines and surgeries that all afford me to find a space to comfortably occupy in this world.
Being “allowed” to live in this place, despite the history and present of displacement and violence that people like me have wrought here and many other places on this continent and others.
Acupuncture is important at this time because…
Such a monumental change in routines and our general sense of safety has pushed most/all of our systems into further dysregulation and disrepair. As acupuncturists we are uniquely positioned to support our clients in moving back toward regulation to improve our ability to cope with a changing world, as well as treating novel and not-well-understood syndromes. We can provide a little zone of respite that will hopefully ripple out into the rest of your lives.
Causes that you support during this time:
Black Lives Matter and other racial justice/anti-white supremacy organizing
Pushing back against anti-trans/anti-queer populism
Indigenous reconciliation, especially in the form of land defense projects like Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek
Mutual aid projects, like Community Food Support Victoria
Housing advocacy, like Victoria Tenant Action Group
Disability justice organizers trying desperately to get masking and other airborne infectious disease prevention precautions to be maintained/reinstated
When this is all over, I’d like to…
Go dancing all night in a really dark, cramped, and sweaty venue with no mask!
And if you still want to know even more about me: