On this day in 1847, the Choctaw Native American tribe collected money to help starving victims of the Irish potato famine. Several years before, in 1831, President Andrew Jackson seized Choctaw territory in what is now southeastern Mississippi and parts of Alabama, forcing the Choctaw to travel five hundred miles along the “Trail of Tears” to reserved Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The Choctaw people sympathized with Ireland’s forced submission to Britain, and with the starvation and disease that plagued them. A group of Choctaws gathered in Scullyville, Oklahoma and raised $170, which they then forwarded to a U.S. famine relief organization. Though U.S. contribution in aid to Ireland totaled in the millions, the Choctaw donation was by far the most generous.
Fred Ruark says
I was smitten by the wonder of serendipity when I came across the Irish-Choctaw Thanksgivine article in the December / January issue. I am deeply involved in writting a jovel of Irish – choctaw encounters in Barbados in the 17th century. My protaganist, an enslaved Irish prisoner of war from Drogheda meets a Choctaw woman who was nenslved by the Spaniards. The article encouraged me to give credence to my story. Thank you.