The people of Ireland have been donating money to Native American tribes as a thank you for help during the potato famine in 1847
Donations to those Native American tribes that have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are flooding in from Ireland as a way to say thank you and to repay a debt that dates back to the 19th-century potato famine.
This ‘debt’ dates back to a gesture made by Native American tribes in March 1847, when the Choctaw tribe, in particular, heard of the Great Famine that hit Ireland. The Choctaw Native American people sent $170, the equivalent of around $5,000 today, as relief aid to Ireland.
A sculpture called ‘Kindred Spirits’ in Midleton, County Cork, commemorates the generosity shown to Ireland by the Choctaw people.
At least 41 people within the Navajo Nation, which straddles parts of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, have fallen victim to COVID-19, the rise in cases withing this community is thought to be attributed to a water crisis.
An estimated 40% of the Navajo homes do not have running water, and a drought in the south-west worsened the crisis.
So far $$1.8 million of the fund’s $3 million target has been raised for the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund, and organisers of the donation campaign have thanked the people of Ireland for their support.
One of the Organisers, Vanessa Tulley said:
“Several of our recent donations for our GoFundMe campaign have been inspired by the Great Hunger Famine in Ireland which started in 1845”,
“173 years later to today, the favour is returned through generous donations from the Irish people to the Navajo Nation during our time of crisis.”
“Thank you, Ireland, for showing solidarity and being here for us,”
Michael Corkery, who donated $200, said:
“The Choctaw and Navajo people helped the Irish during the Great Famine, despite their own suffering,”
“When I learned about it, I never forgot it. It’s history now, but we are still grateful. Thank you!”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited the Choctaw people in Oklahoma In March 2018, thanking them for their help and selflessness to Ireland during the potato famine, and announced a scholarship programme that will allow members of the Choctaw Native American community to come to Ireland to study.
The USA currently has the most amount of cases of infection from COVID-19 with a total of 1,224,324, as well as the most amount of deaths with an overall number of 71,148 fatalities, the extend of which had been predicted back in late March as the US overtook China for the most amount of cases.