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Viviane Weitzner

Research Fellow, Indigenous Law & Governance – McGill University


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Viviane Weitzner is an award-winning activist legal anthropologist that has had the privilege of accompanying and supporting Indigenous and Afro-Descendant peoples in the Americas – from the Arctic to the Tropics – in their collective life projects and strategies for territorial defence for over 20 years. As Research Fellow, Indigenous Law & Governance, Viviane co-leads the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA)’s research axis on “Indigenous Law, Indigenous Rights and Interlegalities”; undertakes joint research with the Embera Chami People of the Resguardo Indígena de Orígen Colonial Cañamomo Lomaprieta (Riosuio, Supia - Caldas), Colombia on revitalizing Indigenous law; and collaborates with Leadership for the Ecozoic’s Law and Governance programme. She is an Adjunct Professor at McGill’s Department of Anthropology, and currently also a Visiting Professor at Carleton University’s Arthur Kroeger College for International Affairs. Alongside her academic work, Viviane provides policy advice to the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme on issues related to Business and Human Rights. She is a former Senior Researcher, Governance and Natural Resources, The North-South Institute (NSI), a think-tank based in Ottawa, where she led over ten years of programming on Indigenous and Afro-Descendant perspectives to decision-making about extractives projects affecting ancestral lands in the Americas. She is the founder and principal research of Collective Matters.


Viviane has written extensively on issues at the crossroads of Indigenous rights, territorial defence, and legal pluralities. Her PhD Thesis won the Law & Society Association’s 2019 Dissertation Award Honorable Mention (Raw Economy/Raw Law: Ancestral Peoples, Mining, Law and Violence in Colombia), which she is currrently transforming into a book manuscript for submission to Stanford University Press.


Degrees: PhD (hons) in Social Anthropology (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social - CIESAS – CDMX); Master’s in Natural Resources Managament (University of Manitoba); BA (first class hons) English Literature (McGill University); BA (summa cum laude) German Literature (Ottawa University). 


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