To incorporate Indigenous and local communities connections with nature for policy decision making, we integrate Ecosystem Services (ES) and Capability Approaches to develop a cohesive framework for assisting policy makers to better comprehend nature’s values that are vital for Indigenous/tribal well-being. Sen’s Capability Approach, when applied using the lens of ES, helps to realise well-being from a multi-dimensional perspective. Our proposed framework includes ES in the context of peoples’ capabilities, functionings, utilities, and freedom to access and use natural resources. We further applied this framework to two case studies, tribal communities of Soliga and Kattunayaka located in a global biodiversity hotspot in the Western Ghats of India, to investigate how ES enable people to lead their lives as they want. This study, the first of its kind in India, explains how tribal communities’ well-being is affected by the access and rights to their local forest resources. This study offers a tool for policy makers to appropriately comprehend Indigenous/tribal communities’ connections with their lands, and highlights concerns for mainstreaming them into contemporary economies. An integrated understanding of multi-dimensional aspects of well-being and nature’s values can enhance both Indigenous well-being and conservation outcomes at the local, regional and global scales.