Vale do Ribeira, the largest reserve of Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil, is home to quilombola and caiçara communities. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in Geneva, is responsible for regulating intellectual property rights. What can possibly connect these places? In both, narratives around the meaning of indigenous knowledges and their protection are being constructed and negotiated. Aiming to produce an ethnography of global connection, this work looks at (dis)connections between these two spaces. Through in-depth interviews and participant observation, it analyzes the creation of legal categories related to indigenous peoples and local communities in the international arena, as well as at the points of articulation between the international and the local realm. The analysis demonstrates how articulation and dispossession have been key to creating the discussion in both spheres. The conclusion indicates that the narrative of protection of indigenous knowledge through intellectual property rights emerges through friction and is just one narrative among others. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Vahabzadeh Foundation for financially supporting the publication of best works by young researchers of the Graduate Institute, giving a priority to those who have been awarded academic prizes for their master’s dissertations.