Indigenous movements face what Stuart Kirsch has called the ‘risks of counterglobalization’, which can distort their objectives into an all-or-nothing position with respect to development. In this contribution, I explore a case from the Philippines, where a movement originally conceived in terms of indigenous rights grew to include a more diverse mix of constituents and claims. This trajectory has made the movement vulnerable to charges of inauthenticity, particularly since the corporation it opposes has sponsored a parallel indigenous group and fashioned itself as the noble custodian of a threatened marine ecosystem. Nevertheless, the movement's constituents do not evaluate their activities exclusively in terms of its formal objectives or identity politics. For them, organized protest is entangled with the ‘serious games’ of everyday life, including, for example, local elections, struggles to achieve upward social mobility and efforts to redefine ethnic identity. As a result, some constituents see their involvement primarily as a claim to socioeconomic parity and others as a pursuit of the exceptional rights that indigeneity confers. Without attention to such local-level variation, we risk obscuring some of the most important motives and outcomes of indigenous movements — and, as a result, we may overlook the alternative visions of socio-environmental justice that emerge from their day-to-day struggles for livelihood, dignity and empowerment.