Irish Return a 174 year-old Kindness to Native American Tribe.

"We're only strong when we band together" says one Irish donor.

In 1847, the Choctaw Nation in North America donated $170 dollars to the Irish Famine relief effort.  This impoverished nation had survived an attempt at ethnic cleansing though The Trail of Tears only the decade before and, yet, raised what is equivalent to $4700- $20 000USD in today’s dollars, depending on conversions used.

In the middle of March, two North American tribes set up a GoFundMe to help provide COVID-19 relief, supplying clean water, food and health supplies to people in the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Reservation.

Word of the fundraiser reach some people in Ireland and people of Irish decent, who remember the Choctaw’s gift in 174 years ago and they started donating.

On Wednesday (May 6), Ethel Branch, one of the organizers wrote:

My last update was 11 days ago, and I reported then that we had broken the $1 million fundraising mark. Well we have now broken the $2 million mark, in good part due to a beautiful act of solidarity from our friends in Ireland, who remember the kindness shown to them by our Choctaw brothers and sisters, who sent them aid during the great potato famine in 1847. Thank you so much, Ireland!!!

As of Thursday afternoon, the total is over $3 million.

Some of the donations includes notes.

Of the generosity of the Indian Tribes who sent donations to the starving Irish people in 1847 during the Famine” wrote Betty O’Mahony.

Your people, who had known such hardship and cruelty, helped my people in their dire need and horror. I thank you with this small gesture. An Irish saying:Ní neart go chur le chéile.[Pron: knee nyart guh cur luh kay-lah] Means – we’re only strong when we band together. May you thrive. May you flourish,” wrote Mary Finnegan.

I am deeply moved by the history of the Choctaw people helping my ancestors here in Ireland in the 1840s during the great Irish famine. The opportunity to keep this of circle of assistance moving is a blessing, I am so happy to give back. May you all be safe and well at this testing time. Go gcuidí Dia libh uilig : May God assist you all,” wrote Éamonn Cagney.


Read more HERE.


Image: Kindred Spirits, sculpture honouring the donation of the Choctaw Nation, Midleton, Co. Cork, Ireland. Photo by Gavin Sheridan CC