A word from our founder
Your purchase helps amplify Indigenous voices and brands and helps us take a stronger position in the economy and to grow healthier communities. Additionally, for every new children’s subscription sold this year, we are donating one new children’s book to a national Indigenous youth summer literacy program. (More on this to come!)
My mixed-heritage and Indigenous roots have instilled a passion in me for finding interesting ways to engage, inspire and motivate those around me. Raven Reads was born from a desire to educate others about the devastating impact residential schools had on Indigenous people in Canada.
Residential schools were in place in Canada for more than a century, with the last one closing in 1996. Over 150,000 children attended these schools and many never returned. Often underfunded and overcrowded, these schools were used as a tool of assimilation. Thousands of students suffered physical and sexual abuse - all suffered from loneliness and a longing to be home with their families. Entire cultures, languages and ways of life were wiped out and the impact inflicted by these schools continues to be felt to this day.
The Truth & Reconciliation Committee’s final report (released in 2015) laid the foundation for a way to find common ground for moving forward for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
As many of us do, I frequently ask myself what does reconciliation mean and what role can I play in this? I know that reconciliation means different things to different people. To many, it’s about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this country. For that to happen, there must be awareness of our collective past along with action that will change behaviour.
We are not there yet. The relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is not a mutually respectful one.
But I believe we can get there.
A call for action
In 2015, shortly after the TRC released its final report, Raven Reads founder Nicole McLaren started a book club. The book club was a gathering place to not only share incredible books but to open a dialogue as well. To bring this experience to a wider audience, Raven Reads was born.
It has been designed as a safe space for you to learn about other cultures, about history and to discover beautifully crafted products made by Indigenous entrepreneurs from around the globe.
Indigenous and women owned
We are a team composed of tenacious Indigenous and non-Indigenous female leaders who strive to see Raven Reads reach it maximum potential and offer our customers authentic and quality products that we can be proud of.
CEO / Founder
Nicole McLaren is a mother, wife and an entrepreneur at heart. Nicole’s steady search for opportunities combined with her enterprising, Indigenous roots led her to launch Raven Reads in 2017. Nicole is also the Founder and Chair of the Indigenous Women’s Business Network, an expanding non-profit network that provides support for other Indigenous women looking to start or grow their own business.
Susan started her career working in Toronto working for a large forestry corporation. Since moving to BC she has worked primarily for First Nations communities and organizations.
She grew up mainly in BC and Ontario and has raised two amazing sons. Her wonderful
husband comes from Simpcw First Nation (Chu Chua) and his mother is from Cooks
Ferry First Nation near Spences Bridge. Her spare time is spent camping with
her husband and dog and seeing as much of the world as possible.
Kirsten is a adventurous, dog lover who loves to cook. She studied project management and has a passion for finding ways to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. She has a knack for developing and implementing efficient processes that really work for people. She has dedicated her career to the e-commerce and fulfillment industry, with more than 8 years experience. She is the Operations Specialist for Raven Reads, ensuring the day to day order flow is smooth.
Colleen is our marketing professional with over ten years’
experience in marketing and advertising in First Nations gaming and client services. Colleen’s roots are from Sakitawak also known as Ile-a-La Crosse in northern Saskatchewan. Colleen is also a member of the Canoe Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 10 Territory. Colleen currently resides in the border city of Lloydminster, SK with her husband.
Senior Ops. Coordinator
Victoria grew up in Merritt, BC and currently still resides on the West Coast of Canada. In her spare time, she enjoys playing in her garden and listening to live music. Victoria is the Senior Operations Coordinator for Raven Reads and brings knowledge in corporate administrative systems and people management. Her career background includes experience in human resources, administration, and various levels of customer service. Victoria is from the Nłeʔkepmxc nation and is a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band.
Jessica grew up in Swift Current, SK and currently lives in Langham, SK outside of Saskatoon. Her husband is from James Smith Cree Nation and they have 3 children. Jessica is a social media manager for Raven Reads and helps with other aspects of the business where needed such as research for business expansion projects. Jessica operates her own virtual management business and has a full-time business in personal finance.