Oct 13

Indigenous Knowledge and Mathematics Education: Responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action

IKME program

Read our conference program

On October 4 and 5, more than 150 educators from across Ontario gathered in Fort Frances, Northwestern Ontario – Treaty #3 Territory for the Indigenous Knowledge and Mathematics Education Conference: Responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action. The two-day conference coincided with Dagwaaginimaawindoosijigewin (Fall Harvest), giving educators, policy makers and academics an opportunity to make meaningful connections, experience the collaborative work that is being done in Treaty #3 and build relationships to improve mathematics teaching within a framework of reconcilliation and reciprocal learning.

The conference highlights the ongoing math research and professional development partnership among the Seven Generations Education Institute, the Rainy River District School Board, and the University of Toronto’s Robertson Program for Inquiry-based Teaching in Mathematics and Science, which is housed at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education’s Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study. Since 2013, this group has been working together to focus on Indigenous educational leadership and innovative ways to teach and learn mathematics. During that time, the OISE team has been invited into many Treaty #3 communities, schools, and classrooms and has had the opportunity to teach alongside many amazing teachers.

Elder Ogimaawigwanebiik (Nancy Jones) opens Fall Harvest and the Indigenous Knowledge and Mathematics Education Conference

Conference delegates learn how to build a smokehouse for curing fish at Seven Generations’ annual Fall Harvest

Maurice Switzer delivers his keynote about the significance of Wampum belts at the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre.

Language panelists Sherry Mattson, Liz Osawamick, Marjolaine LaPointe (KPRDSB) and Jason Jones (RRDSB)

Delegates tour Mine Centre P.S.’s outdoor classroom with Marge Hale’s enthusiastic kindergarten class

Dr. Anton Treuer (Bemidji State University) delivers the evening keynote address to the crowd at La Place Rendez-Vous Hotel

On Day One, participants attended Fall Harvest, visited Rainy River First Nation’s Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Interpretive Centre (Manitou Mounds) and heard Maurice Switzer’s keynote entitled “The Treaty Relationship and Reconciliation.” The first day concluded with an evening reception and dinner with a keynote address by Dr. Anton Treuer: “Thriving in Indigenous Space: What Does it Look Like and How Do We Get There?” On Day Two, the conference hosted a panel on language revitalization as well as keynote speakers and workshops in mathematics that addressed practical ways to respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action. Dr. Bev Caswell and the OISE/Seven Generations/RRDSB team presented their collaborative work that demonstrates how connections with community and a focus on spatial reasoning/geometric thinking produced research results that show significant gains in student achievement in geometry and number sense. Dr. Ruth Beatty gave a keynote address “Exploring Culturally Responsive Mathematics.” The day concluded with time for participants to join discussion groups on topics such as Treaties, language revitalization and culturally responsive mathematics.

Mine Centre P.S. (RRDSB) educators present on their amazing outdoor kindergarten classroom

Dr. Ruth Beatty (Lakehead University) presents a keynote on culturally responsive mathematics

Toronto Anishinaabe artist Nyle Johnston presents on Indigenous art and storytelling

Nicole Bell and Claire Mooney (Trent University) lead a session on storytelling and mathematics

Pam Agawa (FNMI lead, York Region DSB) and Ruth Beatty present the mathematics involved in looming

Conference executive team: Richard Messina (JICS), Heather Campbell (RRDSB), Bev Caswell (Robertson Program), Brent Tookenay, Shelly Jones and Aimee Beazley (7 Generations), absent from photo is Angela Mainville (RRDSB/7 Generations)

The Robertson Program at OISE truly appreciates all those who contributed to making this conference a success: Elders, classroom teachers, administrators, Anishinaabe educational counsellors, and families. Above all, we thank the children in Treaty #3 territory who continue to inspire and astonish us.

Delegates attended from the following organizations and communities:

Confederation College
Connected North
Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation
Curve Lake First Nation
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
University of Toronto
Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study
York Region District School Board
The Mabin School
The North West Catholic District School Board
First Nation Metis Inuit Education Association of Ontario
Rainy River District School Board
Keewatin Patricia School Board
Superior North Catholic District School Board
University of Western Ontario
Seven Generations Education Institute
Lakehead University
Metis Nation of Ontario
Ontario Ministry of Education

Special thanks to the organizers of The Indigenous Knowledge and Mathematics Education: Responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action conference:

Bev Caswell, Ph.D. (Director, Robertson Program, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto)
Heather Campbell (Director of Education, Rainy River District School Board)
Angela Mainville (Indigenous Education Leader, Rainy River District School Board, Seven Generations Education Institute)
Brent Tookenay (Chief Executive Officer, Seven Generations Education Institute)
Shelly Jones (First Nation Student Success Program Teacher, Seven Generations Education Institute)
Aimee Beazley (First Nation Student Success Program Teacher, Seven Generations Education Institute)
Zachary Pedersen (Robertson Program, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto)
Larisa Lam (Robertson Program, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto)

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1 Comment

  1. Barbe Dennis
    October 13, 2017 at 2:25 pm · Reply

    It has been a pleasure to work with the ‘away team’ of Bev, Joan, Zach, Larisa and crew over the past few years. Thank you for visiting our Outdoor Classroom and sharing in knowledge building with our staff.

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