Ireland helps Native Americans battle coronavirus

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Choctaw and Irish dancers at a 2017 dedication ceremony of a sculpture commemorating the 1847 donation

IRISH generosity has seen Native American communities in America benefit from donations at this time of uncertainty and hardship.

Donations were made online with the aim of reaching a target of $5 million to support Navajo and Hopi communities who have been badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The fundraising effort has called on Irish people to remember the generosity of the Choctaw nation, who—despite their own poverty and suffering—donated $170 in relief at the height of the Great Hunger.

Their support has never been forgotten by the Irish people, and is remembered in story and song—such as Dublin singer Damien Dempsey’s Choctaw Nation.

So far, more than $3million has been raised through the fund, and both those donating and receiving the support hope that it will encourage the shared respect the nations have for one another.

Noting that adversity brings out the best in people, a statement from the Choctaw tribe spoke of the links that will now bind the Navajo and Hopi people with the Irish, as they have witnessed themselves.

“We are gratified—and perhaps not at all surprised—to learn of the assistance our special friends, the Irish, are giving to the Navajo and Hopi nations. Our word for their selfless act is ‘iyyikowa’—it means serving those in need.

“We hope the Irish, Navajo and Hopi peoples develop lasting friendships, as we have. Sharing our cultures makes the world grow smaller.”

dan@theirishvoice.com

PIC: DEIDRE ELROD/CHOCTAW NATION

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