Thinking back on my experiences in my mathematics classes, I never really thought of it as a subject that could be oppressive and/or discriminating for other students. It’s my ignorance as I was never taught that a subject such as math could be oppressive to students who did not learn it in a westernized way as I did. However, I did notice the lack of Indigenous ways of knowing within the math textbooks. I can only recall one unit in my grade nine year that had an Indigenous culture unit, however it was skimmed over in my class due to “other units that will be on the exam”. I always thought of math being the same way for everyone in the world, so I was happy to be enlightened during our lecture on Friday. I really enjoyed listening to the stories from Gale as she spoke of math in a way that I never viewed it and I took a lot away from her lecture to think about in my future if I need to teach mathematics.
The Inuit students begin learning math with a base-20 numeral system whereas the Eurocentric way uses a base-10 system. In lecture, Gale said that a base-20 system could be used because when one sits in their igloo they have their hands and feet in front of them which consist of 20 all together and not 10. The Inuit have also developed a system for expressing numbers orally. I cannot understand it that well because I was taught the Eurocentric way, but the way Gale described it was extremely interesting. Another way Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ideas about math is through their measures for length. As people needed clothing and shelter, Inuit people measured with parts of their body. The Eurocentric view for measurement uses rulers and tape measures. After reading this article and listening to Gale, I have learned lots of interesting things about the way we teach mathematics that will help me in my future.