Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by quietly remembering that Native Americans sent more aid to Ireland during the famine than Britain or the US.
specifically, it was the Choctaw nation that sent aid to the Irish during the famine
1. “more aid to ireland during the famine than britain” okay let’s clear this up, again– there was no famine, it was a genocide, commited specifically by the british. ireland was literally packed with food. the only crop that failed was the potato crop. the british had no problem with ships FULL OF FOOD leaving british ports on british ships from ireland to other places to make money. IT. WAS. NOT. A. FAMINE. IT. WAS. A. GENOCIDE. and that probably explains why britain didn’t “send aid”. britain was literally using the “famine” they manufactured to clear the land of indigenous irish people.
2. which lends poignancy and power to the attempt by the choctaw nation to send food to starving irish people.
3. there was much fanfair about this in the british press at the time, because of course the british government was lying to its own people about what they were doing. it’s convenient to blame natural disasters like “famine” when in fact it is mass murder– kinda like what’s going on in yemen right now. but to conclude, what didn’t receive a lot of fanfair in the british press is the fact that much of the corn and other food the choctaw nation attempted to send did not go to starving irish people, it was essentially hijacked and went to feed british pigs and livestock.
4. which is why every saint patrick’s day we remember the genocide (one of many the british attempted in ireland) of black ‘47. and we always remember the native americans who responded in such good will and with such generosity to starving people an ocean away from them.
And – all through primary school (until age 12) it was taught as a famine; only in secondary school did we learn that the British caused it deliberately. There’s a fair amount of Irish YA novels about the Famine (can’t remember titles off the top of my head), and they’re all pretty brutal with the facts of what happened. Not to mention most people’s great-grandparents probably lived through it – it’s not that far back.
Also there’s a monument to the Choctaw nation somewhere up the country for the help.
The Monument is in Cork!
Midleton, Cork to be exact. It’s called ‘Kindred Spirits’ and was created by Alex Pentek at the Sculpture Factory in Cork, with assistance from students of the Crawford College of Art and Design, and installed in Bailick Park in 2015, and consists of nine 20-foot stainless steel eagle feathers arranged in a circle, no two feathers being identical, forming a bowl shape to represent a gift of a bowl of food!
It was officially unveiled and dedicated in June 2017 by Chief Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., and Councillor Seamus McGrath, County Mayor of Cork, accompanied by a 20-strong delegation from the Choctaw Nation.
There’s a wikipedia article here, that’s just what I wrote above.
My friend works for one of the production companies that made the film Black 47 and it has been unveiled at the Berlin Film festival and ADIFF this week and is relevant to this post and you should go see it if you can!