It was a hug nearly five decades in the making as two sisters separated by the Sixties Scoop reunited in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
"I am happy and relieved that we finally get to meet each other. It took a long time for us to find each other," Cheryl Hemmerich said after the emotional encounter of meeting her sister, Doreen Deakin, for the first time.
"It's kind of overwhelming at the moment."
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About 47 years ago the sisters lived with their Metis parents in Selkirk, Man. However, when the girls were toddlers they were seized by child services.
While Deakin stayed in Manitoba, Hemmerich was adopted to a white family in New Jersey.
"We always knew about each other but we didn't know where each other were," Deakin said.
In 2014, Deakin decided to search her mother's name online just to see if anything came up.
"This adoption website came up with my name saying my sister, Cheryl, was looking for me," Deakin said.
"A week later we were talking on the phone."
There were two more years of conversations on the phone before Hemmerich finally arrived at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport around 11:30 a.m.
She was greeted by her long-lost sister who was carrying flowers and balloons which said "60 Scoop."
The sisters will now have five days together where and Deakin said they want to "talk about each other's lives and enjoy being sisters."
"Sixties Scoop" refers to the 20 years, beginning in the 1960s, when Indigenous children were removed from their families and placed in foster care or adopted to non-Indigenous families in Canada and around the world.