Mathematics and Statistics

One example of how statistics can be used to draw attention to social issues that Indigenous populations face.

The most obvious way to incorporate Indigenous content into a math course is by connecting mathematics to social justice. In particular, statistics can be used to explore inequalities existing in our society. Mathematics, therefore, can be particularly useful in helping expose the disenfranchisement of Indigenous populations and, therefore, in helping to rectify this treatment by showing indisputable evidence of its existence. Below we've provided links to a number of projects that are using statistics to help Indigenous communities attain social justice.

However, we would also like to point out that much work has been done on the disconnect many Indigenous students feel from their math courses, a disconnect which seems to lead to higher than average dropout rates. These studies provide many ways in which aspects of Indigenous culture can be used to teach mathematical content. For instance, using the building of traditional Indigenous dwellings to discuss geometry. This type of teaching adaptation will be explored further in our pages on Indigenous pedagogy.

  1. This a guide to the concepts and methods used for Statistics Canada's Aboriginal Peoples Survey from 2012, a national survey on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal Peoples (First Nations people living off reserve, Metis, and Inuit).

  2. This is a link to the charts and data tables that Statistics Canada puts together for public information. This survey in particular was about lifetime and past-year suicidal thoughts among off-reserve First Nations, Métis and Inuit adults, aged 18 years and over in 2012.

  3. This Statistics Canada site shows data about past-year suicidal thoughts among off-reserve First Nations, Métis and Inuit adults aged 18 to 25: Prevalence and associated characteristics in 2012. It includes discussions on limitations, analyses, and conclusions.

  4. This is a link to the Statistics Canada search engine for all public data tagged to subject of Aboriginal Peoples (collected surveys, tabulated results, analyses/papers, etc..).

  5. A quantitative research study that examines water quality on reserves.

  6. An article that explains how Indigenous peoples have been exploring and using mathematics for thousands of years. It provides some very interesting examples.

  7. The website of a program that uses Navajo weaving to help teach mathematics to indigenous students in Alaska.