Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. She is the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute.
First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI) is the first organization of its kind whose goal it is to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people.
Sandra organizes Truth Healing Reconciliation Community Forums that bring together adoptees/fostered individuals and their families and professionals with the goal to identify post adoption issues and to identify strategies that will prevent removal of First Nations children. She has also initiated an ongoing support group for adoptees and birth relatives in the Twin Cities Area.
Sandra is the Elder in Residence at the Indian Child Welfare Law Office, Minneapolis, MN and is a consultant for the Capacity Building Center for Tribes, Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies University of Duluth, Minnesota.
Sandra has become a spokesperson on the issues of the adoption and the foster care system and how it has impacted First Nations People. She has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, Japan, and Alaska sharing her inspirational story of healing.
She served as Commissioner for the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served as an Honorary Witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools in Canada.
She serves on the boards of: The Legal Rights Center of Minneapolis and The Association for American Indian Affairs.
She is a subject in three documentaries:
- The People’s Protectors - https://www.pbs.org/show/peoples-protectors/
- Dawnland – www.ustanderproject.org
- Blood Memory – www.bloodmemorydoc.com
She is a contributing author to:
- Outsiders Within: Writing on transracial adoption
- Parenting as Adoptees
- The Kinship Parenting Toolbox
Sandra has received the following awards:
- The Child Welfare Leadership Award, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, U of MN, 2019
- The National Indian Child Welfare Champion for Children Award, 2017
- Women in Wellbriety Dana Tiger Award for Creating Change in Nations, 2014
- Named one of The INNOVATORS in Color Lines Magazine, 2008
- Named one of the 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World Utne Reader, 2008
- Named Outstanding Native Women Award from the University of Minnesota 2003
- Named one of the “50 Most Influential and Cool People” of Madison, WI, in Madison Magazine, November 2002.