Aboriginal Education Resources and Links

The following thoughts on Aboriginal Students' Mathematical Experiences of Beth Graham in Australia can also be applied to the Saskatchewan experience:

"Maths, to be taught effectively in any community, has to begin where the children are, with the language and the knowledge to which their developing conceptual view of the world is related. It must move with the children as they develop mathematical concepts in relevant and meaningful situations which are organised for them in such a way that further mathematical ideas emerge.

But how often do the words used in Aboriginal schools... particularly in maths lessons .. evoke mental pictures or concepts that differ from those of children who grow up speaking English and with a conceptual view of the world related to the Western system of knowledge? What is perhaps even more alarming is that teachers are often unaware that this is happening and when the child fails to act intelligently in certain situations the teacher gives up trying to teach maths effectively and concentrates on teaching 'sums' at which Aboriginal children with their strong aural and visual memories gain some measure of success."


Graham, B., Can We Count on Maths? Living and learning in an Aboriginal community, 2nd Edition, Northern Territory Department of Education.

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Resource Materials


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Listen to Real Audio of a the presentation: Knowledge, Belief and the Moral Obligation of the Intellectual by Timothy Weiskel from Luce Fellow, Harvard Divinity School at the Tribal Lands Conference - found at http://nativenet.uthscsa.edu/audio/a2a/

You will also find talks on a variety of Indigenous issues.

Children's favourites. Montreal : National Film Board of Canada, 1993. 1 videocassette (30 min.). SUMMARY: Presents a compilation of three animated children's films. The second story, Mary of Mile 18, a young girl's dream comes true when she is allowed to keep a wolf puppy even though animals kept in the North are those that work or provide food. Audience: Grades K-6.

Fables and fantasy. [Montreal] : National Film Board of Canada, 1982. 1 videocassette (58 min.). SUMMARY: Presents a compilation of six animated children's films. In program five, Mary of Mile 18, a young girl's dream comes true when she is allowed to keep a wolf puppy even though animals kept in the North are those that work or provide food. Audience: Grades K-6.

Indian Games (Filmstrip) ED/FA:

Knots on a counting rope. [United States] : WNED-TV : Great Plains National Television Library ; Scarborough, Ont., 1988. 1 videocassette (30 min.). SUMMARY: Influenced by the feature story in which a young Native American boy faces his blindness, LeVar tests his own courage when he camps out alone at night. Audience: Ages 6-11 ; grades 1-6.

Mary of Mile 18. Weston, Conn. : Weston Woods Studios, 1978. 1 sound cassette, 1 book, 1 filmstrip + 1 booklet. SUMMARY: Mary's father tells her she cannot keep a wolf puppy since the only animals kept by families in the cold north are those that work or provide food. Audience: Primary, elementary grades.

Mathematics from many cultures. Scarborough, ON: Ginn, 1995. Each package contains 1 big book, 6 posters, 1 map and teacher's notes. Packages 1 - 6.

Murdo's story. [Winnipeg,Man.] : Manitoba Native Education Branch, 1988. 1 videocassette (17 min.). SUMMARY: This legend from northern Manitoba, tells the story of how the fisher became the Big Dipper, and how the animals of long ago decided to divide time and share winter and summer, as recorded by Murdo scribe. He was deeply concerned that the unique personalities and events of Native life would be forgotten through the passing of time, so he decided to record his stories and some of the legends which had been passed on to him by his elders, in order to preserve them. Audience: Primary, elementary grades. Also in Cree and Ojibway.

Murphy, James R. (1990). The Black Fox Gift of Strings: The Diamonds. Learning Hands

Murphy, James R. (1990). The Black Fox Gift of Strings: Ten Men. Learning Hands

Textbooks, Teacher Resources and Journal Articles

Averkieva, J & Sherman, M. (1992). Kwakiutl String Figures. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press. SIFC: GN 2 A27 v.71

Gabriel, Kathryn. Gambler's Way. SIFC: E98 G2 G33 1996

Jenness, D. (1924). Canadian Artic Expedition 1913-18 Volume XIII: Eskimo Folk Lore Part B: Eskimo String Figures. Ottawa: F. A. Acland. SIFC EENIWUK Collection: 793.9 Jen

Moore, Charles G. The Implications of String Figures for American Indian Mathematics Education. In Journal of American Education. October 1988 pp. 16-26.

Nishimoto, Kim and Berken, Bernadette. Symmetry Patterns of the Wisconsin Woodland Indians. In International Study Group on Ethnomathematics Newsletter. Volume12 Number 1 November 1996.

Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit. Aboriginal Cultures and Perspectives: Making a Difference in the Classroom. Number Five in the Diversity in the Classroom Series. 1996.


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Bibliography of Native American Math

Birch Bark Bitings

Bull Plume's Winter Count

Carnegie Winter Count

Lone-Dog's Winter Count

Mayan Calendar

Mayan Numbers

Mayan Numbers (Paula Giese)

Maya Numerals

Native American Geometry (Chris Hardaker)

Native American Indian Resources, over 300 pages including stories, art, games, astronomy:

Native American Transformational Geometry

Saskatchewan Aboriginal Services Kiosk, Services and Programs

Seminole Patchwork Designs (Vera Preston)

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Multicultural Education Reform:

The Quipu, an Incan Data Structure

Traditional Navajo designs from LOGO programming

Museum ofIndian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, New Mexico - pottery and weaving

Native American Technology and Art

Native American Indian Themes in Books for Children and Teens

Games from the Aboriginal People of North America

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