Over half a century ago, an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 aboriginal children were taken from their families and placed in foster homes or put up for adoption. Part of a government initiative nicknamed the “Sixties Scoop,” the devastating program continued until the late 1980s.

Last week, three sisters torn apart by the program were reunited for the first time in three decades.

“If it wasn’t for Facebook, we would not have found Rose,” Margaret Murray, an activist who goes by the name Nakuset, told CTV News Channel from Montreal, where she now lives.

Rose Mary currently lives in Austria, where she moved with her European father at a young age. The third sister, Sonya Murray, now lives in Kenora, Ont.

The mission to reunite was led by Sonya, who has been trying to find her sisters since the age of 12.

“I woke up and her bed was made – it was as if she had never been in it,” Sonya recalls of the day she last saw Nakuset.

“They never told me where she went. They never gave me a chance to say goodbye.”

Nakuset and Sonya now plan to visit Rose in Austria.

“In my opinion, this ‘Sixties Scoop’ was an assimilation process that finished right after the residential schools,” Nakuset says.

“So the government still felt that there was an ‘Indian problem’ and adoption or foster care would be the right decision.”

Editors Note:  In the video attached to this story, guest Nakuset mentioned there were 200,000 aboriginal children that were taken from their families, but there were an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 – proper records were not kept, therefore the number could be higher.