Pamela Downe, Ph.D.
Pamela is a medical anthropologist with expertise in community-based engagement, infectious disease research as well as maternal health research. She has served as President of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), Co-Chair of the American Anthropological Association’s joint conference with CASCA, 2019, and Vice-Chair of University Council at the University of Saskatchewan. Her recent publications include the book, Collective care: Indigenous motherhood, family, and HIV/AIDS (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).
This paper is a call for greater attention to the ways in which Indigenous mothers in Canada support each other while raising their children. Framing this as lateral care, I draw on two decades of research to argue that the history of child apprehension engenders deep distrust among Indigenous mothers of health care workers and social service providers. As such, mothers rely on each other, particularly during pandemics, to share information and resources as well as to offer advice and counsel. I call for wider recognition of the importance of lateral care in the lives of mothers.