An old kindness has been returned over the last week with Irish people responding to a GoFundMe campaign for the Native American communities in the United States who are suffering greatly at the moment. The GoFundMe page was a sight of Irish surnames as donations flooded in with notes of remembrance of the help starving Irish Citizens received from the Hopi, Navajo and Choctaw Nations nearly 200 years ago.
As the Great Famine ripped through Ireland our friends in America raised 170 dollars amongst themselves to help the starving here. Ireland, which was a world away from them at the time, received a donation that would amount to 5,350 dollars today. It’s made all the more impactful when you understand the pain and suffering these Native Communities had gone through and were still going through at the time the donation was made. The Trial of Tears, a 600mile march after eviction from their land, had brutalised the populations of these tribes and still, they reached out a helping hand.
Over the last week Irish people, and people of Irish descent, have been donating to the GoFundMe page with over 20% of the 3.1 million dollars being attributed to them. The money will hopefully help the Native American communities who have been very badly hit by the COVID-19 virus. Much of the spread in these tribes have been said to stem from lack of access to clean water, hospital ICU care and they’re living in multi-generational homes which makes isolating impossible.
This is not the first time that a renewal of this connect has occurred between Ireland and these tribes. Cork University has established a scholarship in recent years to honour the altruistic donation. As per the website:
“The Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship is being instituted in recognition of the act of generosity and humanitarianism shown by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma towards the people of Ireland during the Great Famine of the mid-Nineteenth Century, and to foster and deepen the ties between the two nations today.”