They throw spears: Reconciliation through music

Jane Moore


‘They throw Spears’ was written as part of the research for my PhD
at the University of Sydney. The study was conducted in two primary
schools: one in a remote area in the Northern Territory (NT) and one in
an urban setting in Tasmania. It was conducted in 2009 and investigated
Indigenous and non-Indigenous student, non-Indigenous teacher, non-
Indigenous principal and Indigenous Teaching Assistant attitudes
towards Reconciliation. The theories of Lev Vygotsky and Kieren Egan
and the writing of Karen Martin informed the study. The article focuses
on the importance of the contribution of the two Indigenous Teaching
Assistants involved in the research and explores their role in its success.
It concentrates on Marlene Primary School in Katherine in the Northern
Territory. At the time that the research was conducted, the school
population was over 90% students Indigenous. I used an arts-informed
research methodology and the writing includes narratives written in
the first person. I gathered the research data through semi-structured
individual and group interviews, student definitions, song lyrics, t-shirt
designs, digital recordings, video footage, sketches, collographs,
photographs and researcher observations. This approach enabled my
personal story to be told. The article also features an image I created
to symbolise the spirit of the research. The image is a block printed
collograph and depicts the spears that the Indigenous Teaching Assistant
(Arthur) used in his classes with the students.

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