ECS 210: Colonialist Mathematics

1. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?

Honestly, I think math is pretty clear cut in what it is attempting to do. It makes you learn numbers and equations, which I am not sure particularly leads to oppressive teaching. I have never considered math oppressive or discriminatory in anyway, besides the fact that I do not like math, therefore it discriminates against what sort of activities I like to associate myself with!

The only way I can perceive math being discriminatory is if the scenario in which the math problem is being told, is oppressive. However, I do not think that schools are so tone deaf as to write scenarios in which people are being put down on the basis of their race, nationality, sexuality identity, etc… If there are any math scenarios like that, then I can see it being oppressive.

2. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.

One way that Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas is that they use the Inuit language counting system. As in, they do not use one, two, three, etc, they use the numbers from their own language. Another way they challenge is that they use a different measuring system, primarily made up of measurements in relation to body parts. As in, the length of an arm versus the complicated way that English has many measuring units. Lastly, Inuit education is mainly comprised from observing and listening rather than studying from a textbook, which is the norm in the Eurocentric style.

 

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ECS 210: We Are All Treaty People

1. What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?

The purpose of teaching Treaty Ed has many answers. First and foremost, the first reason that comes to mind is the fact that it has been ignored for many generations. Canadian society was doing a disservice to First Nations people by basically sweeping treaties under the rug and interpreting them as they saw fit. The biggest reason to teach Treaty Ed is to do right and be true to the words our ancestors signed long ago on the treaties. No longer will people remain ignorant, and the main purpose of Treaty Ed is to ensure that they simply cannot.

The second reason that comes to mind is the fact that the treaties are intrinsically written into the history of the land of Canada. Without the treaties, the land would have been taken in much more violent means, however, the treaties were still vigorously abused. Treaty Ed will make it crystal clear for generations to come that the treaties are extremely important to this nations history, and to ignore that fact would be to ignore the truth.

Another reason that comes to mind is to combat racism or simple arrogance/ignorance when it comes to First Nation peoples. Racism has a weakness sown into its very core, and that is based on the fact that it relies on people to be misinformed about other races. Education is the main weapon against racism, and where better to utilize this weapon of the mind, than in the education system itself.

2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

Where this statement relates to curriculum is the fact that we live on treaty land, therefore all students who live on this land must know they are within treaty borders. By placing it square and upfront in the curriculum, it reminds teachers of the importance of the statement. It also reminds the teachers to remain humble, that this land traditionally belonged to other people, and by not teaching that would be an insult to their memory. I think there are many interpretations of the phrase, but none as clear as my statements made above.

  • Garrett J. Bates

 

ECS 210: Critical Pedagogy of Place

1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.

This article had a very interesting study going on with regards to reinhabitation and decolonization. I was unaware that the two were actually exclusive from one another in terms of definition, however, it makes sense that the two are deeply connected. One of the main ways the article shows decolonization is the heavy emphasis placed on hearing from elders instead of reading from sources. It makes me question if I should seek out more personal stories instead of only reading second hand accounts from books. Furthermore, the students were provided with some experiences regarding residential schools. The more people are outspoken about their experiences, the more people are aware of the atrocities that were committed. I believe this is key in taking steps towards decolonization and reclaiming their history as independent people with independent histories.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

I was reading over the Law 30 curriculum last weekend and I was pleasantly surprised to see the curriculum advocate for the inclusion of First Nations voices. Particularly I was surprised that it said teachers should bring in elders to share experiences with injustice, as well as the traditional First Nations views of the law. Furthermore, in respect to the idea of “place,” I believe it is very important for students to have the opportunity to experience things at the places they happened. It is a good reminder why field trips are so important to the learner, because you can talk all you want about a place, but unless you literally witness it with your own eyes, you can never know how much it will really touch you. I think this would be particularly important for teaching the Numbered Treaties.