November is Native American Heritage Month and Insider had the opportunity to chat with Nicole McLaren, owner and founder of Raven Reads, a book subscription box that shares the voices and work of Indigenous authors while reinvesting money in other native-owned businesses.
McLaren, who identifies as Métis, Cree and European, stressed the importance of supporting Indigenous-owned businesses, especially women-owned businesses. “There is a huge ripple effect in directing your consumers’ money to businesses owned by Indigenous Peoples, especially women,” McLaren said. “And I think it just has a much larger impact in your local community, in your area and in your state that you just won’t get to buy more from big brands in big chain stores.” By buying from Indigenous-owned businesses, McLaren added that you invest money in diversifying economies to produce lasting wealth in Indigenous communities and families.
In addition to highlighting Indigenous businesses to support, McLaren recommended several books by Indigenous authors that feature the stories, struggles and successes of Indigenous characters. These books encourage readers to learn more about the people whose traditional lands we live in and “those vibrant cultures that still exist today,” she said.
“I think you just have to reach out and engage with all these indigenous communities around you and find out a little more about the people who are there and learn a little more about maybe some of that inequality and then how you can play a part in improving it, ”McLaren said.
Take a look at this map to see which Indigenous land you reside on.