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Two men who learned that they were swapped at birth finally get apology from government

Two Canadian men lived their entire lives not knowing their true ancestry until one of them took a DNA test.

Two men who learned that they were swapped at birth finally get apology from government
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CBC Manitoba

It's rare but deeply unsettling: babies being swapped in hospitals. We have all heard of such things happening, with individuals going on to realize much later how they had been living in someone else's shoes. Two Canadian men, Richard Beauvais and Eddy Ambrose, suffered after both of them were mistakenly switched at birth. The two learned the bitter truth after they did a few DNA tests, per The Guardian. A video has been posted by CBC Manitoba on YouTube, revealing how the shocking moments lead up to this realization.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Artem Podrez
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Artem Podrez

What made the situation even more aggravating for both men was how the government refused to acknowledge any responsibility on the matter because of legislation that allowed them to do so. This is one of two similar errors that have happened due to Canada's colonial policies. The incident occurred at the Arborg Medical Nursing Unit in 1955, which had been newly opened. Ambrose's father was French, while his mother's roots were Cree. Cree is an indigenous group based in Canada.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nicolas Veithen
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nicolas Veithen

Ambrose would go on to spend his childhood in the farming community of Rembrandt, where his parents taught him Ukrainian folk songs, completely unaware of his real ancestry. His parents died when he was young and after some time, he was taken in by a foster family that he grew to love. Beauvais, on the other hand, grew up completely oblivious to his Slavic ancestry. He spent his initial years in the Métis community located near Lake Manitoba. He learned to speak French and Cree during these initial years.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

However, he ended up facing quite a bit of struggle when he fell victim to the "Sixties Scoop," where the government forcibly took away many Indigenous children from their families and put them in the foster system. Beauvais told Globe and Mail, "I saw what the government did to Indian kids because they thought I was an Indian kid. Not many white people have seen what I've seen. It was brutal and it was mean." He also revealed how he was bullied for being Indigenous. Soon after all of this, he moved to British Columbia, where he became employed as a commercial fisherman.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Chokniti Khongchum
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Chokniti Khongchum

Beauvais ended up taking a DNA test because it was a Christmas gift from his daughter so he could maybe learn about his French father's lineage. But when the test results came, it showed that he was of Ukrainian and Polish descent. Bill Gange, the lawyer based in Winnipeg representing both men, said, "He thought it was a scam, one that didn't even acknowledge his Indigenous roots." Even though he was in denial, different tests in the following months concretely proved that the two men had been switched at birth. Gange had prior experience with the case, having dealt with two other sets of men who were switched at the Norway House Indian hospital in 1975.


Gange had initially approached Manitoba's health minister in 2022 about the incident but received no comments from them. Gange gave it a shot one more time and was informed that the government would apologize to the two men for the grave mistake. He stated, "None of this would have happened and nobody would have known if they hadn't taken tests. The challenges they faced in the child welfare system, especially Richard, are problematic." Gange will meet with government officials soon to work out a settlement agreement for the two men.

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