30 May 2022
As part of National Reconciliation Week 2022, we are honoured to share the stories and words of some amazing people at BHP who have been pioneering the way with reconciliation.
Trystian Cross joined BHP almost seven years ago as a Machine Operator at Newman. She has spent the last two years as a Fixed Plant Controller with our Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC) in Perth.
She also leads BHP’s Perth Indigenous Employee Network and co-chairs the National Reconciliation and NAIDOC work groups.
What does reconciliation mean to you?
“Reconciliation is a journey where we acknowledge, accept and celebrate each other’s differences. It’s about understanding the past and continuing to work together to achieve equality while strengthening and building relationships.
One of my first projects with BHP’s Perth Indigenous Employee Network was a ‘Get to know your Mob at BHP’ introductory session. I reached out to our Indigenous employees and asked them to provide a short biography, including a photo and where they are from. There were some people who didn’t respond so I reached out to find out why. Several employees within the network didn’t feel connected and felt they weren’t able to have a voice as their past made them feel uncomfortable about who they were based on the colour of their skin – with some being told they were too white to be Aboriginal.
Stories of disconnection from family, stereotypical comments of what an Aboriginal should look like and lack of knowledge and cultural understanding resonated with me personally and led me to assist those who felt ashamed and disconnected. With my knowledge and history I was able to create a safe environment for people to speak and share their stories which encouraged many others to find the strength and willingness to come forward, share their story and challenge beliefs and stereotypes about Aboriginal people. Sharing the stories allowed acknowledgement, respect and gave an opportunity to strengthen the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.”
What does the theme Be Brave, Make Change. mean to you?
“For me, the theme of this year’s NRW message means coming forward and acknowledging the unfinished business of reconciliation within our Country. It’s about standing together as one to take on what’s unfinished and make the change for our future. Not just as Indigenous People, but for all Australians as a whole.”
If society commits to bravery and change in the spirit of reconciliation, what does the future look like in your mind?
“Being strong means challenging the status quo and encouraging others to explore their beliefs and value about changes and equity in a non-threatening way. The future would be one of equality, understanding and acceptance of people’s differences and our Nation’s history. It would be a Country with respect for all nations and one where people are not disadvantaged based on the colour of their skin. Aboriginal people would not be overrepresented in the criminal justice or health systems, with greater access to education, employment, and housing. We would live as one Nation.”
Thank you to Trystian for sharing your story. We encourage everyone to play their part and help contribute towards reconciliation in some way this week.