Women across the globe will be
One such First Nations woman who’s inspired her generation and future generations is Nicole Robertson. Nicole is a Media Specialist and President of Muskwa Productions & Consulting. Muskwa Productions brings 18 years of experience in the media.
She specializes in media relations, training and video production. Her business services also include educational and commercial videos.
Nicole is the youngest of her two siblings and is from from the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba.
First Nations Drum talked with Nicole and discussed her role in the media.
When did you start Muskwa Productions, and what gave you the idea to start your business?
“Muskwa Productions which is now Muskwa Media turned into an idea when I was working as a journalist in television, radio and print. In those 10 years, what happened is, I realized a lot of our First Nations people were in a place where they did not know the full story and the media was painting a picture that wasn’t basically the truth for First Nations in this country. A lot of the news coverage was based on stereotypes and based on the negativity and not based on the reality. I was trying to change the narrative. Also you have to realize this was pre smart phones, the internet, and social media. I have a passion to educate Canadians and the world about who we are as Indigenous people and essentially improve communications with our neighbours in our own country and abroad.”
What are the main challenges you face with your business?
“I know that people hire me for me, so I am a brand in itself. I realize that trying to take on too much is not a good thing, because I just do not have enough time because I am a single mom. I have a daughter and I need to have a balance. I don’t want to miss important milestones in my child’s life and at the same time I don’t want to miss on major events and news in Indian country that the Indigenous community wants me to help share in the media, so it’s a very delicate balance. Of course my daughter is my main priority, so yeah there is challenges.”
So far in your career, what are some of the achievements that stand out?
“I would say, being recognized by my peers who nominated me for Alberta Chambers of Commerce in 2018 and I won the Indigenous Entrepreneur Woman of Distinction. Also working with the youth, inspiring them and at the same time they inspire me. Having the opportunity and the honour in speaking at different events across the country. Of course another huge inspiration is my own daughter, and being told by her that I am one of her role models.”
How has the business landscape changed since you began your business?
“The Internet, smart phones, and social media. I remember owning the very first blackberry, long story short, I am so glad technology has improved because when you look at the media, a lot of what we do is based on technology. Another change is the willingness of our people to speak out is a big change. Before there was a reluctancy for many First Nations and leadership to open up to the media, now it’s reversed to consistently share our stories, so that is something that has changed massively.”
What are your thoughts on current Liberal MLA, Jody Wilson-Raybould controversy?
“I would say I am on team Jody, she is one of the woman I look up to. Jody has been, I would say, thrown under the bus by her own party. She is a woman of integrity, I’ve known her when she was the regional chief of British Columbia and she’s paid her dues and has been working in this area for many years. She basis her integrity on her indigenous roots and speaking the truth and I think people will know a lot more about that integrity in the future.”
Your advice for Indigenous women who want to own their own business?
“You must do your research and follow what you’re passionate about, first and foremost. Because if you’re doing what you’re passionate about, then what you’re doing doesn’t really feel like work. It is something you wake up to every morning and say, “wow, I’m humbled and I enjoy what I’m going to be doing today.” So it is important to know your gifts and how you’re going to share this with the world.”
Nicole added to end our interview that she wanted to mention that on the day of this interview, Thursday, February 21, 2019, that she shared a picture on social media, about her longtime friend, Jennifer Podemski.
“She has been a friend of mine for the past 25 years and this is the first year that she is not going to be directing the Indspire Awards. We have come such a long way as Indigenous women in media and television and film, and I realized we are paving the way for the younger generation, and it’s important for me to have that legacy and respect.”