Working with Indigenous peoples has stretched geographers’ presumptions about appropriate modes of engagement and representation. Early feminist geography prompted methodological experimentation that exercised significant and lasting influence on the discipline. The politics of working with Indigenous peoples yields similarly significant insights about research leadership and methodological choices that are now recognized more widely. We juxtapose the prevailing ethnographic and collaborative approaches to researching Indigenous peoples against Indigenes’ preference for leading research into their lives. Ethical concerns about recent geographical research suggest a need to reconceptualize participation, action and representation.