Kindred Spirits: How the Choctaw Responded to the Irish Potato Famine

In the early 1830s, the United States forcibly removed nearly 15,000 people of the Choctaw Nation from their homeland in the deep South to what was called “Indian Territory” (now Oklahoma). Along their Trail of Tears, 2,500 died, Wikipedia said.

About 15 years later, the Choctaw people learned about the Irish suffering from the Great Potato Famine and scraped together $170 to send to alleviate their suffering, a gift memorialized in 2015 in Ireland with a beautiful sculpture. Continue reading

On St. Patrick’s Day, Remembering the Choctaws Gift to the Irish

An 1847 image from the Illustrated London News shows a starving boy and girl in Cork in search of a potato.
An 1847 image from the Illustrated London News shows a starving boy and girl in Cork in search of a potato. (Wikipedia)

On St. Patrick’s Day, it seems a fitting time to remember an incredible gesture made by the oppressed Choctaw Indians during the Great Irish Potato Famine.

The year was 1847, in the middle of the Irish Famine. The Choctaw people collected money to send overseas to feed the starving men, women and children of Ireland. The amount has been reported as both $710 and $170, but the amount is irrelevant. Consider that the Choctaw made this donation only 16 years after they (and other Indian nations) were brutally  relocated from their ancestral homes in the southeastern United States and moved into present day Oklahoma. Continue reading