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At age 40, childhood friends discover they were switched at birth
Two childhood friends are coping with the revelation they were switched at birth in a Canadian hospital over 40 years ago. - photo by Jessica Ivins
WINNIPEG Two childhood friends are coping with the revelation they were switched at birth in a Canadian hospital over 40 years ago.

Luke Monias and Norman Barkman have been friends their entire lives, growing up next to each other in Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, according to CBC News. The men were born June 19, 1975, at the Norway House Indian Hospital a federally-run facility at the time.

Growing up, the men considered each other brothers. They spent so much time together, they often received comments that they resembled one anothers families more than their own, according to the Toronto Star. Rumors and speculation persisted throughout their childhood and adolescence.

Something just wasnt right.

Monias and Barkman ignored the notion for years, until finally, they both decided they wanted to put the rumors to rest. With the help of their surviving parents, the men performed DNA tests last summer.

I guess it got to a point in recent years where it was getting intolerable, provincial Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson told the Toronto Star.

When the men received the results earlier this month, their entire community was rocked by the news: Monias and Barkman had been sent home from the hospital with the wrong families, according to the Star.

I didnt believe it until I saw the paper. Thats when it hit me, Monias said.

Now in their 40s, the men are left to pick up the pieces. Monias and Barkman are calling for a federal investigation into the hospital, and whether any other birth swaps have occurred there. The men would also like an official apology from the Canadian government for the oversight.

The mental, physical and spiritual well-being of both men has been deeply affected by the loss of their proper identity, Robinson told Huffington Post Canada. The lives of Luke, Norman and the families have been irreversibly torn apart by this error, an error that cannot be simply overturned at this late time.

Both men have expressed a desire to get to know the families with whom they never went home. As they look forward to coming to grips with the situation and launching the healing process, they both acknowledge the pain.

I just want to know what happened 40 years ago. Its hard, Barkman said. I just want to know what happened.

Still, the men say the shocking revelation has only brought them closer.

Hes like my brother, Monias said. Hes still my brother, no matter what.
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