Anthropologists writing about "indigenous media" have identified ways in which ethnographic research involving visual technology can affect the cultural identity and political power of ethnographic subjects, providing them with tools to enhance their own identity-building projects. In this essay I contend that ethnographic writing can also be a form of indigenous media, an implement of self-representation for people otherwise marginalized from the national political mainstream. But the efforts of native informants to establish control over the ways in which they will be represented in print can also create desconfianza, a feeling of mistrust and suspicion of the ethnographer among the people being studied. I reflect on the relationship between desconfianza and the politics of ethnographic practice, and the extent to which questions of performance and representation, far from being mere matters of ethical or philosophical interest to anthropologists alone, are in fact deeply implicated in the political and economic survival of the peoples being represented.