Gail, blowing my mind:
This is what textbooks publishers and teachers seem to think is an authentic way to address the struggles of First Nations students (and other ethnic groups) with mathematics. It is important that students be able to “see” themselves in the resources and in the classroom, but the assumption is that this picture, with the highly culturally-stripped question, is somehow worth a check mark in that column. There is great significance in the dance, the dress, and even what the jingles might be made of, yet none of that is mentioned. Instead, all that’s done with it is to make an excuse for doing some Western mathematics.
Tyler Rice, likewise:
A majority of my students are American Indian. Many of them do travel to pow-wows and participate — some dance jingle. I know them well enough to guess what their reaction to this would be. They are culturally savvy enough to see when someone is “culture dropping.” Believe me, I tried it a few times my first couple of years. Can you say lead balloon? My guess is that this would actually be more of a distraction for my students than anything. In fact, some might find it mildly offensive in that a textbook has taken something culturally significant and distilled it down to “who has more cones?”
Pseudocontext is always an unforced error. Math, itself, is always available for context.