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Friday, November 29, 2019

Iowan talks about being taken from her Native American family

Sandra White Hawk

Members of the Siouxland Native American community today took part in the 17th annual march which calls attention to Native American children who were taken from their homes and put up for adoption.
Sandra White Hawk is a child welfare advocate who was one of those children removed from her home. A documentary “Blood Memory”, details what she went through “But its really a story of all of our removals that had happened in Indian Country over time,” she says. “We explore and talk about and show the trauma from being removed and being raised in an all white community.”
White Hawk was 18 months old when she was taken away. “And I was placed in a white missionary home that was very abusive. And and all-white community that was especially difficult to navigate growing up and not having my image reflected to me in any area of the community,” White Hawk says. She says she was so young she couldn’t remember her mother’s voice or what she looked like — but remembers the shock of being taken from her family. “Growing up I had no sense of what it meant to be native — no sense about anything about my identity,” White Hawk says.
White Hawk says the Native American community in the Sioux City has had an incredible impact the removal of children.
“This is not the case across the country,” White Hawk says, “so what we’re seeing is an organized effort to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act.”
Those who took part in the memorial march shared a meal together at a ceremony at its conclusion.

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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where were you adopted?

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