I’ve talked on this blog about the Irish Famine: The Great Hunger in the 1840s that cost a million Irish lives and displaced millions more. When I last posted about the famine I wasn’t aware that the Choctaw Nation had responded to the Irish in need.
In 1847 the Choctaw sent 710$ (5,000$ in today’s money) to the Irish, a people they didn’t know. What makes this story so compelling is that the Choctaw were in desperate need themselves. In 1830s they had been marched from Mississippi to Oklahoma in a trail of tears. The Choctaw were still desperately poor in the 1840s, but they were moved by the plight of the Irish and sent them money. 710$ was, of course, not enough to address the desperate need of the Irish. However, it was a powerful message to the Irish that they weren’t alone.
The Choctaw could have lumped the Irish in with all the other white people bent on genocide. They didn’t though, they opened their hearts and recognized what the Choctaw had in common with the Irish. They found compassion to reach out to others who were suffering.
Ireland has just commemorated a monument ‘Kindred Spirits’ to the Choctaw gift. The memorial is a beautiful bowl of feathers. If I ever go to Ireland I’ll definitely go to County Cork to see the monument.
The sharing spirit of the Choctaw nation is an amazing example of solidarity and hope that has inspired me this week. I hope you click on the links for more information and find this story inspiring as well.