One of the less explored facets of the Zapatista National Liberation Army''s (EZLN) struggle with the Mexican federal government is how indigenous land rights have come into conflict with environmentalism. The EZLN presents itself as a champion of the rights of all indigenous people in Mexico. Yet the Mayan farmers that support it have come into conflict with the Lacandón Maya, supported by the Mexican government, over access to land in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, located in the Lacandón Jungle. This apparent contradiction between this political reality and the EZLN''s positions is product of the Zapatista discourses that establish indigenous people as actors seeking local control in opposition to a technocratic state, which also places it in opposition to environmental group Conservation International which also portrays itself as protecting the interests of indigenous populations while carrying conservation activities. Drawing from EZLN texts, statements made by settlers, the Mexican government, and Conservation International this text looks at how political groupings define ethnic identity and how this defines the political stances taken in the conflict.