This article explores oral histories about the foundation of the Mosetén Indigenous People’s Organization (OPIM) in Bolivia. In so doing it aims to add nuance to scholarship on Bolivian social movements from 1990 to 2010 by focusing on connections and continuities between indigenous organizations and the systems of political association that predate them. Efforts to organize Mosetén communities were spurred at least in part by indigenous desire to establish order within their communities and to resolve local problems. They adopted strategies associated with models of social organization that were already familiar to them, particularly the Franciscan missions and agrarian unions, and adapted them to meet their needs. This process involved ongoing interactions between Mosetén yearnings, a particular political and historical context, and the creative capacities of Mosetén leaders.