In 1847, the Indians of the Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma, donated $170 to Ireland during the Great Famine that killed approximately one million people. It may seem like small change by today’s numbers, but back then the donation amounted to thousands of euro.
What makes this gift especially impressive is the fact that the Choctaw were having major problems of their own at that time. But the suffering of the Irish moved the tribe, and so the Choctaw, who firmly believe in charity, dug deep into their pockets to help a foreign nation across the sea.
The Irish continue to remember the Choctaw to this day. In 1992, Lord Mayor’s Mansion in Dublin unveiled a plaque reading, “Their humanity calls us to remember the millions of human beings throughout our world today who die of hunger and hunger-related illness in a world of plenty” to honor the tribe.
A monument honoring the Choctaw Nation called 'Kindred Spirits’ was unveiled in Cork in August of last year. The monument features nine steel eagle feathers towering 20 feet into the air arranged in the shape of a bowl.
On his website, the sculptor of the monument, Alex Pentek, wrote about the symbolism of the bowl of feathers, saying:
“By creating an empty bowl symbolic of the Great Irish Famine formed from the seemingly fragile and rounded shaped eagle feathers used in the Choctaw ceremonial dress, it is my aim to communicate the tenderness and warmth of the Choctaw Nation who provided food to the hungry when they themselves were still recovering from their own tragic recent past.”
The monument can be found in Bailic Park, Middleton, Cork.