The International Study Group on Ethnomathematics was founded in 1985 by math educators Gloria Gilmer, Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, Gil Cuevas, and Rick Scott. Since that time it has sponsored programs and business meetings at the annual conferences of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (U.S.A.) and at the International Congress of Mathematics Education. In 1990 ISGEm became an affiliate of the U.S. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
The term was coined by Ubiratan D'Ambrosio to describe the mathematical practices of identifiable cultural groups. It is sometimes used specifically for small-scale indigenous societies, but in its broadest sense the "ethno" prefix can refer to any group -- national societies, labor communities, religious traditions, professional classes, and so on. Mathematical practices include symbolic systems, spatial designs, practical construction techniques, calculation methods, measurement in time and space, specific ways of reasoning and inferring, and other cognitive and material activities which can be translated to formal mathematical representation. The ISGEm strives to increase our understanding of the cultural diversity of mathematical practices, and to apply this knowledge to education and development.
The Mathematics Education and Society 8 (MES8) will take place in Portland Oregon on June 21-26, 2015. For more information see https://sites.google.com/a/pdx.edu/mes8