Author: Shiraz Ramji
Simon Fraser University
Kanwal Inder Singh Neel (2008), a Canadian Asian Indian, did his doctoral research on culturally inclusive mathematics pedagogy with Canadian Indigenous Indians, also known as First Nations people, and wrote his PhD thesis entitled, Numeracy in Haida Gwaii BC: Connecting community, pedagogy and epistemology. I read about Neel’s research for social justice in Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) alumni newsletter AQ (November, 2008). Prior to his doctoral journey, Neel was a mathematics teacher in Canada for thirty years in elementary and high schools, and during the period as the President of B.C. Association of Mathematics Teachers, Neel recognized the need to research a meaningful community-based mathematics pedagogy for Indigenous students so that they could participate actively in the learning process and improve their performances in the high school mathematics. As a fellow Canadian Asian Indian doing First Nations studies, I asked myself – What motivated Neel to do the research for social justice with Canadian Indigenous Indians? What research methodologies did Neel use to partner with Indigenous Indians? How did Neel work with Indigenous communities including the Elders and the Educators? What are the challenges for a Canadian Asian Indian, as an outsider, to do research with Canadian Indigenous Indians? What did I learn from Neel’s research methodology?
Keywords: Social Justice, Mathematics Pedagogy, Indigenous Indians