As part of NAIDOC Week 2022, some of the amazing people at BHP have shared what NAIDOC week means to them.
Sam Fehlauer is an Emergency Services Officer for WA Iron Ore. He joined BHP in 2018 and hit the ground running, getting involved in our Inclusion & Diversity efforts to contribute to improving the overall quality of life and wellbeing to everyone within the resources industry.
What does NAIDOC Week mean to me?
"To me, it's an opportunity to reinforce current and past cultural traditions and cultural practices. It's about continuing to learn, gaining knowledge and importantly, gaining new perspectives and understanding through stories and experiences felt by our First Nation people. We know that quality contribution enables cohesion, aiding in breaking down barriers and, ultimately, establishing relationships of trust and respect.
Every day should be an opportunity to further enhance and embed First Nation culture, traditions, history, and self-identity. To reinforce the commitment to healing deep, unattended wounds inflicted by colonisation, institutional and social injustice, racism, discrimination, inequality, and prejudice.
Flexible and sensible approaches should be applied to the healing process; everyone heals differently. Through the use of culturally sensitive communication, including education, learning, listening, and attending, we can more greatly enhance efforts to move forward into the future state, where we have a complete comprehension and a genuine perspective of one's culture and journey."
What am I doing to celebrate NAIDOC Week?
"I will be attending the opening ceremony at our BHP Mulla Mulla village and look forward to seeing the Blackstone Ramblers band perform at our tavern. I'll be attempting to prepare and cook Bush Damper. I'll be connecting with my First Nations network, including past and current colleagues, mentors, and close Indigenous friends who are talented artists based in Western Australia and New South Wales. We traditionally observe the NAIDOC Awards ceremony, which I highly encourage all to experience.
I hope to paint Indigenous artwork - like the one in this article which we did during my leadership tenure at Yandi last year. We were fortunate to have our talented Indigenous Site Access Officer guide team members in creating a beautiful masterpiece that was auctioned off for an Indigenous Charity. I've always enjoyed painting. I've found it very therapeutic in the past, so I look forward to that."
What does the theme Get Up! Stand Up! Show up! Mean to me?
"The theme can take many forms, but one thing is clear. To me, it's about understanding the purpose of NAIDOC, reflecting, and marking respect for the outstanding achievements possible through the sacrifices, dedication, commitment, blood, tears, and hardship experienced by our First Nations people.
Now more than ever, we need to move beyond just acknowledgement, good intentions, empty words, promises, and hollow commitments. I ask you to actively play your part in healing the wounds of the First Nations people, to be that upstander, act with genuine intent, be deliberate about your actions and always remain kind, culturally sensitive, and considerate. Importantly, don't hesitate or avoid interaction, you'll be amazed how much you learn and grow as a good human."
Thank you to Sam for sharing your story. We encourage everyone to play their part to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for NAIDOC Week.