Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan campus. Ken was raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, and has long-standing professional and personal interests in Aboriginal rights, northern development, northern Canadian history, science, technology and society, and Japan Studies.
He received his BA (History) from UBC, MA (History) from Manitoba and PhD (History) from UBC. Ken has had the distinct pleasure of working at universities across Canada and internationally, starting at Brandon University and continuing at the University of Victoria, and the University of Northern British Columbia (where he was the Founding Vice-President Academic). He spent two years at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, an institution known globally for its work on Indigenous education. Ken returned to Canada in 1997 to take a position as Dean of Arts at the University of New Brunswick at Saint John. He then became Dean of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan, later serving as Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo. He returned to Saskatchewan in 2012.
Ken has written extensively on Aboriginal history, Indigenous-newcomer relations and post-secondary education. His first major work, Best Left as Indians, examined the history of the Yukon through the lens of Aboriginal-European contact. His subsequent work includes The Marshall Decision and Aboriginal Rights in the Maritimes, Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon and shortly, a co-authored book called Treaty Peoples: Aboriginal People and the Future of Canada. He has published more than a dozen books with his regular co-author, Dr. W.R. Morrison, and has worked with Carin Holroyd on a series of projects related to science and technology in East Asia. Ken’s co-authored book, Campus Confidential, offered an accessible review of the accomplishments and challenges of the post-secondary system in Canada and is being followed up by a book aimed at high school students and their parents about post-graduate opportunities.