America ReFramed

Blood Memory

Season 08  Episode 7

For Sandy White Hawk, the story of America’s Indian Adoption Era is not one of saving children but of destroying families and tribes. At 18 months of age, Sandy was removed from her Sicangu Lakota relatives and placed with white missionaries over 400 miles from the reservation. Growing up as the only brown girl in a small Wisconsin town, Sandy’s cultural identity was rejected, leaving her feeling ugly, alone and unworthy of love.

After a 30-year struggle through abuse and recovery, Sandy set out to restore the missing pieces of her stolen past and reclaim the Sicangu Lakota identity she was taught to disown. She soon discovered that her adoption was not an isolated case but part of a nationwide assimilative movement that targeted Indigenous children. BLOOD MEMORY explores the impact reunification can have on communal healing, as Sandy helps organize the first annual Welcome Home Ceremony for Adopted and Foster Relatives of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe - the community from which she was removed over 60 years ago.