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How to invest to support indigenous peoples



Raise awareness of Indigenous Peoples Day and Indigenous Peoples Month by affecting real change

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Indigenous Peoples Day is in October and November is Indigenous Peoples Month – making this an ideal time to discuss how you can invest to support Indigenous people. Many people are interested in giving back to Native communities, which endure some of the highest poverty rates of any group in America.

Fortunately, there are many ways to use your resources to help – although not everyone knows where to start.

That’s why we asked Dr. Kortney Ziegler, founder and CEO of WellMoney, how to best use your money to support indigenous peoples. Options include investing in socially responsible index funds, shopping locally, or seeking out companies with indigenous leadership.

In addition to founding a fund-sharing resource designed to serve and empower marginalized communities, Dr. Ziegler is a Humanities Fellow at Stanford University at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. There, he hopes to change the world by creating technology that improves the lives of vulnerable individuals.

If you’re also interested in improving lives, here’s how you can do your part to help Indigenous people – not just in October and November, but all year round.

In this article:

What are some of the best ways to invest to support indigenous peoples?

If you are interested in investing your money in a way that supports indigenous peoples, it is important to choose socially responsible investments that align with these values ​​and goals. But it’s just as important to put your money directly into local businesses and community-based ventures.

“People should be investing in ESG funds as well as finding local communities that need funding and that are led by the indigenous people themselves,” says Ziegler.

Environmental, social and governance funds, commonly known as ESG funds, allow you to invest your money – including your retirement savings – in companies that have been shown to have a positive net effect on the environment, social justice and fair governance. For example, many who are interested in using their investments to reduce the impact of climate change choose ESG funds that invest in green companies.

However, many domestically owned companies are not necessarily part of the larger stock market. This means that buying directly from these companies can have a greater impact. Sometimes the best way to use your money to support indigenous people is to ask the indigenous communities in your area what they need – and how you can help.

“Meeting people where they are by listening to their lived experiences and valuing their community-based work is the best way to understand how to economically and socially invest in Indigenous people,” explains Ziegler.

Where to find ESG funds that support indigenous peoples?

If you’re looking for ESG funds designed to support Indigenous communities, you may need to do a little extra research.

This is not always the case for socially responsible investments. For example, people interested in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through their investments can access the LGBTQ+ 100, an index fund that tracks the top 100 companies focused on LGBTQ+ progress and equality. Likewise, people interested in investing for racial justice have many options available to them. These include the Morningstar Minority Empowerment Index Fund, which tracks companies with a focus on diversity and opportunity.

However, as of this writing, there is not a specific index fund that tracks companies that uniquely support indigenous peoples. Nor is there an easily accessible database of companies with a focus on the indigenous population. “There are a number of people working on research and data to help develop such a database,” Ziegler explains.

Until then, individual investors may want to consider ESG funds with an overall focus on racial equality or minority empowerment, such as index funds and ETFs offered through social justice investment firms like Adasina. Investors may also want to look at social justice-oriented ESG funds offered by major investment brokers, including Vanguard and Charles Schwab. And if you work with a roboadvisor like Wealthfront or Betterment, you have tons of ESG options.

Apart from investing, how else can people support indigenous peoples?

Investing in the stock market is not the only way to use your financial resources to support indigenous peoples. Consider buying more goods and services from local retailers, especially businesses owned or staffed by Native Americans.

Look for opportunities to make online purchases from small, indigenous-run businesses. The Trickster Company, for example, is a locally owned small business that sells everything from clothing to kitchenware. Sweetgrass Trading Company offers a variety of foods and gifts produced by smaller Native American retailers such as Ioway Bee Farm and Sakari Farms.

“Whether you’re buying from Indigenous small businesses locally or online, or doing research to better understand the Indigenous land you’re on, all of these options demonstrate an investment in supporting and honoring Indigenous communities,” Ziegler explains.

If you invest wisely, you can benefit from a diversified retirement portfolio, a strengthened community, or just a delicious jar of raw honey from a farm operated by the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. Remember, the ultimate goal of investing is to support people and businesses so that we can share in their success and growth in the short and long term. And when you take the time to learn how to best support Indigenous communities, everyone benefits.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they fit your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be used for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to obtain advice from their own tax or legal advisor.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a term life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in some states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in some states, including NC) issued by CM Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Police and driver form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by AM Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is valid from 1 April 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other credit rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The driver is not available in all states and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual is responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made available under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party providers (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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