Karen Drake

Associate Professor, York University, Osgoode Hall Law School

Karen Drake's teaching and research interests include Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe law, and Métis law.



Karen Drake, a Professor at the Lakehead University Law School joins me to share a bit about the history of aboriginal law in Canada in this there part series - Part 3.

The Trials and Tribulations of Ontario’s Mining Act: The Duty to Consult and Anishinaabek Law

Published by McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy


R. v. Hirsekorn: Are Métis Rights a Constitutional Myth?

Published by Canadian Bar Review


Researcher-Participant Privilege, Confidentiality, and the Jailhouse Blues

Published by McGill Journal of Law and Health


Finding a Path to Reconciliation: Mandatory Indigenous Law, Anishinaabe Pedagogy, and Academic Freedom

Published by Canadian Bar Review


‘The lands...belonged to them, once by the Indian title, twice for having defended them..., and thrice for having built and lived on them’: The law and Politics of Métis Title

Published by Osgoode Hall Law Journal



Karen Drake is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Her research interests include the intersection between liberalism and Aboriginal rights, the duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples in the context of resource extraction, Métis legal issues, and the relationship between law and ethics when conducting research with human participants. She teaches Aboriginal Legal Issues, Indigenous Legal Traditions, Property Law, and Legal Philosophy. Drake is a Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, a Commissioner with the Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government,a member of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Bar Association, and a member of the Thunder Bay Métis Council. She serves as Vice-Chair of Lakehead University’s Research Ethics Board, and as an alternate member of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Research Ethics Board. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Lakehead Law Journal and was previously Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Indigenous Law Journal. Prior to joining Lakehead University in July 2013, Drake practised with Erickson & Partners, focusing on Aboriginal legal issues, human rights, and labour and employment law. Prior to that, she articled with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. She completed a clerkship with the Ontario Court of Appeal, where she clerked for Justice Stephen Borins, Justice Susan Lang, Justice Harry LaForme, and Justice Gloria Epstein. She also served as a judicial law clerk to Justice Leonard Mandamin of the Federal Court.

Additional Titles and Affiliations

Thunder Bay Law Association : Member

Thunder Bay Métis Council : Member at Large

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Research Ethics Board : Alternate Member Knowledgeable in Law

National Observatory on Language Rights within the Public Law Research Centre at the Université de Montréal : Special Correspondent

Ontario Human Rights Commission : Commissioner

Lakehead University's Research Ethics Board : Vice-Chair and Member Knowledgeable in Law

Law Society of Upper Canada : Barrister and Solicitor

Indigenous Bar Association : Member-at-Large of the Board of Directors

Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government : Commissioner

Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining & Exploration at Lakehead University : Researcher

Past Talks

Why Do Aboriginal Rights Exist?

Presentation for The Speakers' School, Waverly Library

Thunder Bay, ON., November 30, 2015

Protecting Confidentiality: To the Limits of the Law and Beyond?

Presentation to the Canadian Association of Research Administrators

Webinar, September 3, 2015

Should Aboriginal Peoples have Special Legal Rights?

Lecture for the In Conversation Lecture Series at Waverly Library

Thunder Bay, ON., October 25, 2014

How Treaties Impact Our Community

Panelist, Kenora District Municipal Association’s 2015 Annual General Meeting

Ignace, ON., February 6, 2015

Aboriginal Rights

(Presentation for the Horizontal Aboriginal Relations Training (HART) Program hosted by Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ministry of Transportation

Thunder Bay, ON., March 22, 2016

Research Grants

Connection Grant

Organization: SSHRC
Grant amount: 13966


2016 To host a workshop entitled “Redefining Relationships: Indigenous Peoples and Canada” in conjunction with the Indigenous Bar Association’s 2016 annual conference Co-investigator

Community and College Social Innovation Fund College

Organization: SSHRC - Partnership Development Grants
Grant amount: 112936


2016 - 2018 “Negahneewin leading the way: supporting community development through Indigenous women's leadership” Co-investigator


  • Property Law
  • Métis law
  • Legal Philosophy
  • Indigenous Legal Traditions
  • Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law
  • Canadian Law and Indigenous Peoples
  • Anishinaabe Law
  • Aboriginal Legal Issues


  • University of Toronto
    Master of Laws
  • University of Toronto
    Juris Doctor
  • Queen's University
    Master of Arts (Philosophy)
  • Lakehead University
    Honours, Bachelor of Arts

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