Blood Memory - FREE Online Cultural Learning Circle: Film + Filmmaker Discussion
Presented in partnership with The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

  April 21, 2021 — May 9, 2021  | Film available for a 48hr viewing window between April 21 - May 9 // Filmmaker's Discussion on May 5 at 6 pm

Program Fee: FREE - participants must register for the film to be invited to the May 5 discussion

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Cultural Learning Circles

On the first Wednesday of every month artsPlace hosts a Cultural Learning Circle. These are led by a diversity of facilitators, from Stoney Nakoda knowledge-keepers to local community members, to experts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion education. Admission is FREE!

FILM - Blood Memory

Available for a 48hr viewing window between April 21 and May 9

Battles over blood quantum resurface the untold history of America’s Indian Adoption Era - a time when nearly one-third of children were removed from tribal communities nationwide.

Sandy White Hawk is an international Indigenous child welfare advocate who uses personal experience in adoption and trauma recovery to mentor and repatriate adoptees throughout Indian Country. We follow Sandy as she organizes the first Coming Home Ceremony for Adoptees & Fostered Individuals on the Rosebud Reservation of South Dakota - the community from which she was removed by missionaries over 60 years ago.   

LIVE STREAM DISCUSSION - Online Cultural Learning Circle

Wednesday, May 5 at 6 pm

Meet with the film director Drew Nicolas and International Indigenous Child Welfare Advocate Sandy White Hawk as they are interviewed by Bow Valley locals, Stoney Nakoda community member Travis Rider and Metis Elder Darin Ladouceur.

FILMMAKER - Sandy Whitehawk

As political scrutiny over Indian child welfare intensifies, an adoption survivor, Sandy White Hawk, helps others find their way home through song and ceremony. For Sandy, the story of America’s Indian Adoption Era is not one of saving children but of destroying tribes and families. At 18 months, Sandy was removed from her Sicangu Lakota relatives and taken to live with a Christian missionary couple 400 miles away, where her skin color and cultural heritage were rejected.  She grew up void of kinship and familial support, feeling ugly, alone and unworthy of love.  Her adoption, which she later found to be part of a nationwide assimilative movement that targeted American Indian children, defined her and took much of her adult life to overcome. Reconnection with her Lakota community empowered Sandy to help other Adoption Era survivors restore their cultural identity through song and ceremony. While Sandy works to address this intergenerational wound, a buzz begins to form around Mark Fiddler - a private adoption attorney and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.  Mark was catapulted to national recognition for his involvement in the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, which challenged modern implications of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) - a law passed in 1978 to halt the removals of Sandy’s generation and keep Indian children in Indian homes whenever possible.  Despite being a former proponent of the Act, Mark now finds himself positioned to strike ICWA from the books. In this struggle to shape the future of tribal child welfare, Mark puts heritage on trial 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.


Online workshops will be delivered in a Zoom Meeting. A meeting link and password will be emailed to you in advance of the start of the sessions. Please download the Zoom Application from

This Program is supported by:

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