“Indigenous mathematics”: Tensions in teachers’ intercultural formation





Ethnomathematics, Interculturality, Research, Indigenous Teachers, Language games


This article analyzes tensions that take place when a Brazilian indigenous student develops research on emerging community issues and establishes relations between practices from indigenous tradition and mathematical practices from school, in the context of an intercultural teacher training undergraduate course. The work is situated on the intercultural field, on the decolonial perspective, and on ethnomathematics, created from the late work of Wittgenstein and Michel Foucault’s thought. It is a qualitative perspective, composed by multimodal data from a Pataxó student’s research, articulating texts, images, audio of the defense session, an interview, and a questionnaire.  The analysis shows that tensions evolve from power relations between the Western mathematics and the other ways to produce mathematics, in this case, using the traditional knowledge of Pataxó body paint.  Such tensions highlight the impossibility of accepting the existence of a universal mathematical language and legitimates Pataxó mathematics, within their schools, with its own epistemologies based on reasons, cosmovision, and spiritualities.


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Author Biographies

Mariane Dias Araújo, Rede Municipal de Belo Horizonte

Mestre em Educação pela Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG). Professora de Matemática da Rede Municipal de Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brasil.

Vanessa Sena Tomaz, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Doutora em Educação pela Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG). Coordenadora da habilitação em Matemática do Curso de Licenciatura em Formação Intercultural para Educadores Indígenas (Fiei) e professora do Programa de Pós-graduação em Educação: Conhecimento e Inclusão Social. Coordenadora do Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Educação Escolar Intercultural Indígena (GEPEEI), sediado na Faculdade de Educação da UFMG.



How to Cite

Araújo, M. D., & Tomaz, V. S. (2020). “Indigenous mathematics”: Tensions in teachers’ intercultural formation. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 80. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.28.4792



Educação e Povos Indígenas