Summary: Students’ cultural diversity is an important factor to consider in a mathematics education concerned with equity. We argue that the significance of mathematics education is not only given by the understanding of mathematical concepts but also by the students’ foreground, that is, the students’ perception of their future possibilities in life as made apparent to the individual by his/her socio-political context. For students in a cultural borderline position different reasons and intentions for engaging in mathematics learning may be related to the construction of meaning in mathematics. Through interviewing Brazilian Indian students’ foregrounds, we illuminate the different types of significance given to mathematics education in their particular situation.