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As reported by Ireland Calling, city officials in Cork, Ireland were looking for a unique way to mark the Choctaw Nation’s generosity and kindness during a dark period of Ireland’s history: The Great Irish Famine. Approximately one million people died of disease and starvation, and another million were forced to leave Ireland in order to survive. Even though the Choctaw Nation had suffered their own tragedy, by being removed from their homelands, they felt the need to help out the Irish. The Choctaw raised a total of $170 which would be the equivalent of $71,000 today.
Altogether, about a million people in Ireland are reliably estimated to have died of starvation and epidemic disease between 1846 and 1851, and some two million emigrated in a period of a little more than a decade (1845-55). Comparison with other modern and contemporary famines establishes beyond any doubt that the Irish famine of the late 1840s, which killed nearly one-eighth of the entire population, was proportionally much more destructive of human life than the vast majority of famines in modern times.
In most famines in the contemporary world, only a small fraction of the population of a given country or region is exposed to the dangers of death from starvation or infectious diseases, and then typically for only one or two seasons. But in the Irish famine of the late 1840s, successive blasts of potato blight - or to give it its proper name, the fungus Phytophthora infestans - robbed more than one-third of the population of their usual means of subsistence for four or five years in a row
A few years after this long, sad march, the Choctaws learned of people starving to death in Ireland. The Irish were dying because although there were other crops being grown in their country, all but the potato were marked for export by the British rulers. The Irish poor were not allowed any other sustenance than the potato, and from 1845-1849 this vegetable was diseased. Only sixteen years had passed since the Choctaws themselves had faced hunger and death on the first Trail of Tears, and a great empathy was felt when they heard such a similar story coming from across the ocean. Individuals made donations totaling $170 in 1847 to send to assist the Irish people. These noble Choctaw people, who had such meager resources, gave all they could on behalf of others in greater need.
originally posted by: Bedlam
Hey, the Indians in Carolina and Georgia that WEREN'T routed during this period were also supportive of Irish emigrants who fled here during that time.
A lot of my ancestry arrived here in the mid 1840s due to this, and most of them settled temporarily in the lands of Eastern Band Cherokee and the former Creek Confederacy. It's one reason you get a lot of Irish-Cherokee or Irish-Creek intermingling in the low country and Appalachians.
originally posted by: skunkape23
It is both heart-warming and sad that people who have suffered the worst are the most generous.
Those who have never known hard times are often the most cruel.