Is the increased international recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples a wholly heartening development? Does the improved access of the peoples to political arenas signal that less power is being exercised over them? This research addresses questions such as these by examining the many ways in which power operates through the benevolent rhetoric on indigeneity in international politics today. With a focus on politics in the UN, the research identies and discusses various dynamics of power at work when indigenous rights are interpreted by an expert as well as when indigenous peoples engage in everyday political practices and environmental politics. Drawing on critical approaches of governmentality, the analysis contributes to the literatures on indigeneity and politics by illustrating the persistence of hierarchical power relations, which are shown to operate through the very political and legal mechanisms designed to counter the marginalisation of indigenous peoples.