Thinking back to my time learning mathematics in school, I can’t think of a specific time where I felt oppressed. The only thing I can remember is feeling overwhelmed by certain subjects like fractions and percentages in elementary school and calculus in high school. It was a helpless feeling, because I felt that these subjects were impossible to learn, but I also felt like I had to learn them in order to succeed. There was often one way these lessons were taught and it was something difficult and stressful to grasp the concept.
In Gale’s lecture and Poirier’s article my own eurocentric views of mathematics were challenged. I always believed the phrase, that mathematics was a universal language throughout the world. However in Poirier’s article, they challenged that notion. For example, Inuit people use a base of 20 when they are counting. They also have an amazing sense of space that is translated into how they travel and interact with the land. Another way that Inuit math challenges our Eurocentric way of thinking is through their calendar. Instead of using a solar or lunar calendar, they use one based on natural events. Their year is divided into months, but the days in the months change based on the natural events.