Karen Drake

Associate Professor
Karen Drake photo
BA (Hons) (Philosophy) (Lakehead), MA (Philosophy) (Queen’s), JD and LLM (Toronto)

Karen Drake is a member of the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation who researches and teaches in the areas of Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe constitutionalism, Indigenous pedagogy within legal education, property law, and dispute resolution including civil procedure and Indigenous dispute resolution. Professor Drake served as Osgoode’s Associate Dean (Students) throughout the pandemic, from July 2020 to June 2023. She joined the Osgoode faculty in July 2017 from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University where she had been a founding Co-Editor in Chief of the Lakehead Law Journal. Prior to joining Lakehead, she articled with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, completed a clerkship with the Ontario Court of Appeal, served as a part-time judicial law clerk with the Federal Court, and practised with Erickson & Partners, focusing on legal issues impacting Indigenous peoples, human rights, and civil litigation.

Professor Drake is currently the principal investigator, in partnership with the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre, on a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant, which will be used to develop a methodology for assessing the effectiveness of the Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) First Nation Court and the Sarnia Indigenous Persons Court. Professor Drake has presented at education seminars held for Canada’s Department of Justice, Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the National Judicial Institute. She was the recipient of the Osgoode Legal and Literary Society’s Equity Award in 2018, and of the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Award in 2019.

She is a member of the legal advisory panel for RAVEN and previously served as a Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Bar Association, and on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

Graduate Research Supervision (LLM, PhD): Professor Drake is interested in working with LLM and PhD students on projects involving Anishinaabe constitutionalism, Canadian and international law as they affect Indigenous peoples (such as constitutionally protected rights, human rights, language rights, rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure), the interplay between state law and Indigenous law, the role of liberalism in delineating section 35 rights, and epistemologies and pedagogies of teaching Indigenous law.