Thursday, April 03, 2008

Choctaw philanthropy during Irish Potato Famine

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1847 USA: The Arkansas Intellegencer newspaper reported that Choctaw Indians, on learning of the Irish Potato Famine, sent $710 to a famine relief fund in Ireland.

On May 23, 1995, Mary Robinson, the then President of Ireland, visited the Choctaw Nation to convey her nation's thanks for this act of generosity from the Choctaws. President Robinson, who had been made a Chief of the Choctaw Nation, spoke to the Choctaw people in their native language, "Chahta I yakne ala li kut na sa yukpa." Then she translated, "I am glad to have come to Choctaw Country."

President Robinson added: "I believe that we have in common that bond of humanity and it should be an additional reason why we should particularly reach out now to countries who suffer from poverty and hunger. I think it is very important that we should try to give leadership in that and that we try to encourage others to understand that there are people today who need the support that the Choctaw Nation gave 150 years ago to the Irish people."

Celtic dancers danced with Choctaw dancers during the ceremony.

The Choctaw tribe had had its own tragedy not long before its generous gift to the starving Irish: Indian removal. See Trail of Tears in the Book of Days (1838) ...

Pictured above: Choctaw Eagle Dance, by George Catlin, c. 1845 - '48

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