Stories of Irish suffering opened wounds that had just started to heal
January 2, 2017 10:27 AM   Subscribe

The 1847 Irish potato famine was the first national disaster to attract significant international aid efforts. Among the donors to the Irish people were the Choctaw Nation, which collected and donated $174 to famine relief efforts--despite having themselves barely survived the Trail of Tears only sixteen years before. Indeed, it was the 1831 winter marches from Mississippi to Oklahoma that originally inspired the name "Trail of Tears". In 2015, Cork dedicated a major memorial statue honoring the Choctaw for their help. For their part, the Choctaw have continued to donate to aid efforts following tragedies like Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. Most recently, the Choctaw nation have continued their generosity by sending aid to the Sioux community of Standing Rock.
posted by sciatrix (8 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
There is a memorial to express gratitude to the Choctaw people. I haven't seen it as it was built after I last visited Ireland. I have seen pictures and it is beautiful.

Today the there were people from the NoDAPL movement who participated at the end of the Tournament Of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. It was a large contingent. They had a float with a tipi, and numerous marchers. NBC blacked them out. Someone did live-steam it on Facebook.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:49 AM on January 2, 2017 [8 favorites]

Would that we were all capable of such generosity and -- more importantly -- solidarity.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:51 AM on January 2, 2017 [13 favorites]

Stories of generosity by victims of horrific cruelty always leave me feeling deeply conflicted. I so admire their compassion and so badly want to avenge the injustices done to both groups. What the Choctaw and the Irish famine victims endured were crimes against humanity pure and simple. This story proves (again) what a wonderful, beautiful, fucked up world we live in. Thank you sciatrix for posting this.

And FU NBC. jesuschrist
posted by pjsky at 11:13 AM on January 2, 2017 [9 favorites]

That is the kind of inspiration I was needing today. The new year has not offered a lot in the way of optimism. Thank you for this. I will pay it forward with a donation that can help those in need now.
posted by double bubble at 11:15 AM on January 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

My Irish friend told me about this incident back when we were in college. I was floored by it - and also heartbroken that this isn't talked about in our own history classes
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on January 2, 2017 [6 favorites]

posted by JauntyFedora at 3:22 PM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

In defense of NBC, the NoDAPL participants weren't part of the parade, but they came by multiple minutes after the police escort finished coming by. The NBC rose parade coverage ended immediately after the last participants passed by the viewing stand, before even the police escort was through.
posted by miguelcervantes at 4:47 PM on January 2, 2017

Here's a bigger photo of the Chocktaw Memorial in Midleton, Cork.

This is not the first time that the Choctaw nation has been honored in Ireland. In 1990, Choctaw leaders traveled to County Mayo to take part in a reenactment of the desperate walk undertaken by locals to their landlord in 1848. The gesture was returned in 1992, when Irish commemoration leaders took part in a 500 mile trek from Oklahoma to Mississippi. Former Irish President Mary Robinson has also been named an honorary Choctaw chief. [Source]

It is a nice relationship. And it speaks to nice traditions in both cultures; Ireland regularly holds the title of the most charitable nation in Europe.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:42 PM on January 2, 2017 [8 favorites]

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