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Mathematics of Yolngu Aboriginal Australians

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Yolngu Aboriginal Australians live as members of around 20 different clan groups in northeast Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. They organise their collective and individual lives through a mathematics system very different to the modern system of abstracting through number and quantification. The modern system is incorporated as a subsidiary to their indigenous mathematical system. The Yolngu form of indigenous mathematics can be understood as exemplifying the many similar systems that have life in hundreds of Aboriginal Australian communities.

To consider notions of Aboriginal mathematics usefully in a short space we need to avoid the academic controversies over what mathematics is about and how we know it, while still demonstrating something held in common between the two arenas we identify as Western and Yolngu Aboriginal mathematics. Before we can say anything about mathematics in the life of Aboriginal Australian communities it will help to look briefly at the...

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© 2008 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York

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Verran, H. (2008). Mathematics of Yolngu Aboriginal Australians. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8745

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