Raven Reads is a quarterly book subscription box featuring Indigenous literature, from Canada and all over the world. Canada has its own Indigenous people who came before us, and they are a huge part of our history that is present today as they fight for their voice and dialogue. The town I live in right now is a Coast Salish community, so in school Indigenous studies were something that were briefly touched on in history class, but not as much as they should have been given how close our ties are. I’m looking forward to learning more through Raven Reads!
The box has several payment options including seasonal (every three months, until you cancel), bi-annual (every six months, pays for for two boxes at a time) or annual (once a year for all four boxes).
DEAL: Get 15% off your first box with coupon RAVEN!
This is a review of their first box, the October box. I’m so excited to open their launch box!
There were quite a few inserts, starting with an ad for Anansi Press (who published the book included as well as other Indigenous titles) and a card letting me know my box was packed by Nicole, presumably the same Nicole who is the box’s founder.
The featured author, Tanya Talaga, has written a note to subscribers. Tanya is a journalist of over 20 years and is of Indigenous descent.
A beautiful card depicting the Great Turtle is included. I believe the artwork is done by box creator, Nicole, as her signature is in the corner!
The reverse is the Haudenosaunee Creation Story featuring the Great Turtle. The Sky Woman fell and landed onto the back of the Great Turtle, and it became her home. I really enjoyed reading this story!
In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied.
More than a quarter of a century later, from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.
Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.
A portion of each sale of Seven Fallen Feathers will go to the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Memorial Fund, set up in 1994 to financially assist Nishnawbe Aski Nation students’ studies in Thunder Bay and at post-secondary institutions.
I am only about 50 pages in and it’s a really good read. The author, a journalist for 20 years, has a talent for including every single tiny detail to paint a very vivid picture of everything. The first chapter takes you on a tour of the community that describes so clearly where everything is, what it looks like, where it is — you can see it in your head as you read. You really do get pulled in to the story, and at times I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a fictional crime mystery — this is Canada’s recent history, and it’s heartbreaking.
Jingle Dress Dancer Bookmark — CraftedVan has their own subscription, and they have collaborated with Raven Reads on this custom bookmark. It’s a girl in a traditional jingle dress. I love how bright the colours are, and a bookmark is a perfect complement to the book.
As is the norm with CraftedVan, the reverse is also illustrated and detailed!
Cheekbones Lipgloss in Sweetgrass ($24) — Cheekbones is a makeup brand created by Jenn Harper, a First Nations Canadian from Ontario. 10% of all sales in 2017 are being donated to the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society and their project called Shannen’s Dream. Shannen was a young First Nations woman who fought to create safer school environments for First Nations students like herself, as First Nations schools don’t get the funding and support that other public schools do. She sadly passed away at 15 but her dream came true and a proper First Nations school was built in 2014 in her community, Attawapiskat. Cheekbones has a solid shop of makeup options, and everything has a meaningful name! I reached out to Jenn to ask about what Sweetgrass represents — in her words “The sweetgrass braid represents that we are stronger together.”
Sweetgrass is a beautiful nude shade. It smells like vanilla! It’s paraben free, cruelty free, safe for sensitive skin, and has Vitamin E in it to keep lips hydrated and healthy. Each order from Cheekbones comes with a pink feather — this is a sign of gratitude for supporting First Nations’ youth. The idea is that you are to pass the feather on to someone else to express gratitude along with the request to pass it on, and keep the chain of gratitude and the pink feather going!
Here’s a swatch on my hand…
…and one on my lips!
The inaugural Raven Reads box is a thoughtfully put together box that I really enjoyed experiencing. I learned a lot, from the creation story, to the first bit of the book I have read so far, to learning about Shannen and her dreams to help protect and support First Nations students at such a young age. This box makes you think, reflect, and gives you a safe place to ask questions and open dialogue.
Are you getting Raven Reads?