Ken Coates

Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and co-Director for the International Centre of Northern Governance and Development at the University of Saskatchewan.  An expert in Indigenous-newcomer relations, rights and politic

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Indigenous Rights
Aboriginal Politics and Rights in Canada
History of Indigenous-Newcomer Relations


Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and co-Director (Research) for the International Centre of Northern Governance and Development, University of Saskatchewan.  He was formerly Professor of History and Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts (History) degree from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and a PhD (History) from UBC.  He has taught or served as an academic administrator at universities in Manitoba, British Columbia, New Zealand, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Ontario.  In many of these positions, he worked actively on developing undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on Indigenous education and training. 

Raised in the Yukon Territory, Ken has had a career-long interest in Indigenous rights, Aboriginal land and resource claims, Indigenous-newcomer relations and contemporary Aboriginal politics. He has worked with Aboriginal organizations, governments and non-governmental organizations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, has done research on Indigenous rights in Scandinavia, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, in addition to his long-term work on Canada.  Ken has served as an expert witness of Aboriginal rights court cases in Western Canada and appears regularly on radio and television programs and contributes routinely to the national and regional press on Indigenous issues. 

Ken Coates has published extensively on Aboriginal and Indigenous issues, beginning with his Ph.D. thesis (Best Left As Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon Territory, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press).    His book, The Marshall Decision and Aboriginal Rights in the Maritimes (McGill-Queen’s) was short-listed for the Donner Prize in Public Policy in Canada. His co-authored book, Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North won the Donner Prize for 2009. His other works include Living Relationships: The Treaty of Waitangi in the New Millennium Aboriginal Land Claims in Canada: A Regional Perspective; Indigenous Peoples in Remote Regions: Comparative Perspectives. Of particular relevance to the work on one of his CIGI collaborative research projects, Ken published A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival. He is currently completing a book, Treaty Peoples: Reconciliation with Aboriginal People in Canada.

Ken currently contributes to collaborative research projects on East Asia-Arctic relations and the internationalization of indigenous rights.