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Irish should not forget debt to Indians over Famine aid

The 25th annual Famine Walk took place in Louisburgh, Co Mayo on May 19.

Leading this year’s walk, as he has done for the past 17 years, was Choctaw Chief Gary White Deer. The people of Ireland should not forget the unsolicited response of the Choctaw Nation during Ireland’s Great Famine, which was an astonishing act of kindness from people who had little enough for themselves yet managed to share. This Famine Walk passed off almost unreported by Ireland’s media. In this instance eaten bread was soon forgotten.

In 1847, Choctaw Indians collected in excess of $700 and sent it to Ireland to be distributed among the starving Irish peasantry during the Famine. This was a most remarkable act of generosity as the only link between Ireland and the Choctaw Nation was a common bond of humanity. Just 16 years previously almost half the Choctaw Nation had died of starvation during their forced relocation from Mississippi and Florida to Oklahoma in what became known as the Trail of Tears. They were the first native Americans to be forced from their land by the US government.

Tom Cooper

23, Delaford Lawn


Dublin 16


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