The Indigenous Mathematics Symposium began 10 years ago with 24 educators from across British Columbia meeting at the University of British Columbia. Our common interest was sharing strategies and actions for supporting success in mathematics education for Indigenous learners. This initial meeting was sponsored by British Columbia’s Ministry of Education through Indigenous Education. 

Since our first meeting we’ve formed a network that connects educators, community members, and administers across the province. To date close to 1500 people have attended our annual Indigenous Mathematics Symposium held at the Sty-Wet-Tan Hall, First Nations Longhouse, UBC on traditional unceded Musqueam territory.

Mouse Woman

Billy Yovanovich Jr

Haida artist Billy Yovanovich Jr. designed our Network/Symposium logo titled Mouse Woman. Mouse Woman, the narnauk, supernatural shape-shifter is shown with her open interconnecting hands. According to Yovanovich, Mouse Woman is known for her call to balance and equity. A symmetrical design the eyes of Mouse Woman help see the math while the hands represent the helps/teachers of math. The hands and eyes help us see and talk mathematics. According to the artist, “the hands and eyes are important to this design as they represent how we see and talk, as I believe we can talk with our hands and eyes.”

Artist William (Billy) NC Yovanovich Jr.––whose Haida name is Kuuhlanuu––is a member of the Ts’aahl Eagle Clan of Skidegate, Haida Gwaii. Billy is an accomplished young artist currently living and designing in Victoria.

Network and Symposium Organizers:

Cynthia Nicol, UBC

Cynthia Nicol is Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the UBC Faculty of Education and the David F. Robitaille Professor in Mathematics and Science Education.

She lived and taught on Haida Gwaii in Canada’s Pacific North coast before moving to Vancouver to pursue her doctoral studies. With teachers and communities she is exploring new ways of making mathematics responsive to all learners by connecting math, community and culture, emphasizing place and community-based education, and exploring social justice issues through mathematics. Her current projects focus on researching ways to support teachers interested in more culturally responsive teaching practices. This includes practices to better understand Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships. This also includes working with teachers in the Dadaab refugee camp, Northeast Kenya, to better understand what it means to live, learn and teach in Dadaab the largest protracted refugee camp in the world. As Principal Investigator of this project she is committed to working across cultures and contexts to better understand and improve opportunities for ongoing teacher learning in some of the world's most challenging conditions.

Jo-ann Archibald, UBC

Jo-ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem, from the Stó:lō and St’at’imc First Nations in British Columbia, Canada, is Professor Emeritus in the Educational Studies Department at the Faculty of Education, University of British Columba (UBC).

She was the former Associate Dean Indigenous Education and the Director of UBC’s Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP). She received a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from Simon Fraser University. Over a 45-year educational career, Jo-ann has been a school teacher, curriculum developer, researcher, university administrator and professor. Jo-ann’s scholarship relates to Indigenous knowledge systems, storywork/oral tradition, transformative education at all levels, Indigenous educational history, teacher and graduate education, and Indigenous methodologies. From 1992- 2018, Jo-ann edited an annual theme issue of the Canada Journal of Native Education. In 2018 Jo-ann received the Order of Canada acknowledging her outstanding contributions to Indigenous education in British Columbia, Canada, and internationally.

Joanne Yovanovich, Haida Gwaii School District SD 50

Joanne Yovanovich was born and raised in the Ts’aahl Eagle Clan of Skidegate on Haida Gwaii, Her Haida name is Taanud Jaad.

She has worked with School District #50 since 1995, beginning as the Full Day Kindergarten teacher and Vice Principal then becoming Principal of Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary School. Currently she has the position of Principal of Aboriginal Education in Haida Gwaii School District. She is rooted in her community and the place of Haida Gwaii, She strives to connect the worlds of cultural and school knowledge. She is deeply committed to making a difference in student success rates on Haida Gwaii. She believes that culturally responsive education is a key to student success. Culturally responsive education can be transformative, inspiring and validating for students and staff that embrace and practice the philosophy.


Janice Novakowski

Janice Novakowski, Richmond School District SD 38

Janice is a teacher and Math Consultant for the Richmond School District. She also teaches in the University of British Columbia teacher education program. She is well known for her mathematics education work locally, nationally and internationally with interests in storytelling, math and place. She also founded the British Columbia Reggio-Inspired Math group and is lead designer and contributor to the Richmond SD Math and Science Blog Twitter: @jnovakowski38