Choctaw Generosity
March 30, 2015 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Just sixteen years years after the Trail of Tears, the Choctaw Nation collected $710* and sent it to Ireland to help during the potato famine. In 1992, a group of Irish people retraced the Trail of Tears to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the gift.

* A misprint in Angi Debo's The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Nation results in this number being erroneously reported as $170 in some sources.
posted by Blue Jello Elf (12 comments total) 94 users marked this as a favorite
 
nice post!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:24 PM on March 30, 2015


Thanks for this post!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:44 PM on March 30, 2015


FWIW, $710 in 1847's money is roughly $18,000 in 2015, adjusted for the Consumer Price Index to account for inflation. That's a pretty good chunk of change for people who'd been uprooted with almost nothing 16 years earlier.
posted by JauntyFedora at 5:53 PM on March 30, 2015 [26 favorites]


Or by some napkin math from the numbers on this page about food prices from around that time that's roughly 35,500 lbs of flour or 7,100 lbs of beef. That's assuming that it was purchased in the US, I couldn't find a source for prices in Ireland which were probably very different at the time. I'd love if someone with more historical knowledge could give a more accurate picture of how many mouths this fed. Dollar figures can't do it justice.
posted by metaphorever at 6:12 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Blast From the Past history blog recently ran an investigation into two other famous stories of the Irish famine relief: first, that Queen Victoria contributed a mere £5 to the cause, and second, that the Ottoman sultan tried to send £10,000 and three ships laden with grain.

(Spoiler alert: she sent quite a bit, but she could have easily done more; he may have dispatched a thousand pounds, and there are enigmatic reports of ships from Thessalonica docking at Drogheda in 1847.)
posted by Iridic at 6:16 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]




Tales like this, of regular folk doing their bit the best they can for each other, always get to me. I like to think that this is the real human nature.

Thanks, Blue Jello Elf.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:32 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


There aren't many things that will move me to tears every time, but this never fails. The Choctaw had no reason to love anyone from that side of the Atlantic, but they knew the pain of an empty belly and the grinding despair of being treated as less than a person, let alone a citizen, in your own land.

Ireland isn't ever going to forget, and that's as it should be.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:15 PM on March 30, 2015 [38 favorites]


My Irish friend told me about this and I was blown away. It's very much common knowledge in Ireland, but almost unheard of here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 AM on March 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Pride (2014) is a similar story involving gay activists and striking Welsh miners.
posted by srboisvert at 6:23 AM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


he may have dispatched a thousand pounds, and there are enigmatic reports of ships from Thessalonica docking at Drogheda in 1847

I kind of love that. "Oh yeah? Hating on me? I'm going to feed your people, what do you think about THAT?"
posted by corb at 8:53 AM on March 31, 2015



My Irish friend told me about this and I was blown away. It's very much common knowledge in Ireland, but almost unheard of here.


And it should be! This one goes on my Facebook page. I don't post much but pics on it, but people need to see and think about this
posted by BlueHorse at 10:45 AM on March 31, 2015


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