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Raven Rising Global Indigenous Chocolates: communicating culture through confections

Have you heard of the chocolate shop that everyone’s ‘raven’ about? It’s Raven Rising, a Sudbury-based Indigenous business selling handcrafted artisan chocolates made by Red Seal Journeyman pastry chef, Tammy Maki. Established in October 2020, Raven Rising sells one-of-a-kind chocolate bars and boxes that you’re sure to love a choco-lot!

Chocolate that tells a story

“This business is my journey into the discovery of who I am as an Indigenous person. Indigenous people are storytellers at heart, and I like to think that what I do is an artful (and really yummy) way of storytelling.”

Raven Rising is the creative product of Chef Tammy’s personal story as a Sixties’ Scoop survivor. She is a proud Saulteaux Ojibwe kwe from White Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan who was adopted by a loving Finnish family in Ontario.

The ingredients used in Chef Tammy’s chocolatey creations are sourced from Indigenous people and businesses both in Canada and around the world. By incorporating Indigenous ingredients into her work, Chef Tammy uses her craft to explore her roots and share knowledge about Indigenous people everywhere on a local and global scale.

Choosing .CA

Prior to Raven Rising, Chef Tammy owned a pastry consulting business. “When I opened my first business, I chose my domain incorrectly—people associated my .org with an organization or charity, and to me .com speaks the States.”

As a product of both worlds, Chef Tammy is equally proud of her Indigenous and Canadian backgrounds. There are Indigenous people around the world, so being an Indigenous person from Canada is an important part of Tammy’s identity.

“I want people to understand that [Canada is] where I am. So .CA was the only thing that made sense to me. It says it all.”

In addition to using .CA for her website, Tammy also incorporates it into her branding. “ is my handle online. It’s my handle on Instagram, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, etc. I think finding a name and using our .CA across all of our forums is great for recognition and getting people to the website.”

Rising to the challenge

Early in her career, Chef Tammy worked as an executive pastry chef in some of the best restaurants and bakeries across Canada, but she decided that working for others wasn’t for her. Her entrepreneurship journey officially started with a pastry consulting business, but the 2020 pandemic effectively put her out of commission. Despite this obstacle, Chef Tammy wasn’t done yet.

“The pandemic actually did me a bit of a favour. When I lost my business, I went ‘well, what am I going to do now?’ E-commerce was the only thing that made sense.”

Chef Tammy used Wix to build a website and after months of planning and research, opened Raven Rising in October 2020 as an online e-commerce shop.  This time her business soared earning her a spot as one of five finalists for Canada Post’s “Tales of Triumph” contest and a spot as a semi-finalist in the Pow Wow Pitch.

A portion of Raven Rising’s proceeds are donated to various societies that support 60’s Scoop, MMIWg2s and Residential School organizations. This honours Tammy’s family members, friends and all those affected by a dark era in Canada’s history.


Upward and Onward

At the moment, Chef Tammy has a few part-time staff to help in the kitchen but hopes to hire someone full-time to keep up with business as it grows. She funds a scholarship at George Brown College for Indigenous students in baking and pastry arts and would love to hire an intern that could potentially become her right-hand person.

While business will continue online as usual, Raven Rising opened a storefront in Sudbury on September 10th. The brick and mortar store is just the tip of the iceberg, as the ever-ambitious Chef Tammy plans to expand business locally and internationally with dreams of opening up shops on Canada’s west coast and opening up shipping to places like Australia where it’s easy to export Indigenous goods.

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