While indigenous peoples’ collective rights have found their way into international human rights law and ultimately recognition practice, questions remain as to implementation and the ways such collectiveness materialises in relations with other players in the field. Mandate holding represents one key way in which indigenous communities gain decision-making powers in prior consultation and other participatory mechanisms. However, little is said about how such mandates and multiplicities inherent in the collective umbrella are viewed from local community perspectives shedding light on participatory practice and processes of vernacularisation of indigenous collective rights more generally. It is further explored how multiplicities on the ground are translated into the collective regime offering ways to voice concerns in highly contentious contexts. It is argued that such local perspectives on how mandates are assumed, agendas to be set, issues to be raised form an important part of what participatory rights mean and should be included in what could otherwise be criticised as ‘top down’ decisions. This might help us in understanding the complexities and inherent diversity in indigenous collective regimes on which such regimes are ultimately based.