People from Ireland have repaid an old favour to Native American tribes, who are struggling to cope with the Coronavirus crisis.
During the Irish potato famine, millions of Irish people starved to death, and millions were forced to flee their land.
During that time, in 1847, the Native American Choctaw People donated a significant amount of money to the Irish, despite themselves being poor, and not really in a position to be offering charity.
And now over 170 years later, as Native Americans are suffering many COVID-19 deaths, Ireland is repaying the favour by donating money to help with the crisis.
Over 70 deaths have so far occurred in Navajo Nation – in Utah, Mexico and Arizona.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to provide the communities with food, water and essential items. The campaign has so far raised over $1.5 million – with a huge bulk of the donations coming from people in Ireland who want to repay an old favour.
Maria Farrell explained in a Tweet, “In 1847 the Choctaw Nation, fresh off the Trail of Tears, heard of the Irish Famine and sent every cent they could.
“Today, their covid-19 appeal is peppered with message after message of gratitude and fellowship from Irish donors.
“They didn’t forget us. We won’t forget them.”
One of the Irish donors to the campaign, Pat Hayes, said: “From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship.”
An update posted to the Go Fund Me page explaining why so many donations came from Ireland stated; “Several of our recent donations for our GoFundMe campaign have been inspired by the Great Hunger Famine in Ireland which started in 1845.
“During this difficult time, in 1847, the Choctaw Nation provided $170 of relief aid to the Irish to help them (today that is the equivalent of $5,000). Not long before the Great Hunger Famine in Ireland, 60,000 Native Americans, including the Choctaw people, had suffered through the experience of the Trail of Tears. The death of many people on the Trail of Tears sparked empathy for the Irish people in their time of need. Thus, the Choctaw extended $170 of relief aid.
“173 years later to today, the favor is returned through generous donations from the Irish people to the Navajo Nation during our time of crisis. A message from Irish donor, Pat Hayes, sent from Ireland across the ocean: “From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship.”
“The heartache is real. We have lost so many of our sacred Navajo elders and youth to COVID-19. It is truly devastating. And a dark time in history for our Nation. In moments like these, we are so grateful for the love and support we have received from all around the world. Acts of kindness from indigenous ancestors passed being reciprocated nearly 200 years later through blood memory and interconnectedness. Thank you, IRELAND, for showing solidarity and being here for us.”