The persistent claims of indigenous peoples across the world for recognition of their distinctive culture, ownership of land and empowerment of their traditional political institutions have been brought into international forums since the 1970s. Despite the fact that the movement brought different levels of “recognition” of indigenous peoples as distinct groups with varying degrees of entitlements, there are contrasting paradigms. The rhetoric politics of recognition under the tenets of democracy and protection of human rights on the one hand, and the increasing trend in ideologies of developmentalism that increased the scale of “development” projects on traditional lands of indigenous peoples on the other, are the major contradictory trends. While the former puts nation states and international institutions under incompatible policy options, the latter makes indigenous peoples prey to “neo-development” approaches. This paper assesses background contexts of some indigenous peoples’ claims for resource rights and the challenges they face in achieving recognition, by addressing competing perspectives on the ideologies of developmentalism and international human rights as related to indigenous peoples.