The Attorney General of the Navajo Nation has recorded a special video message to thank Irish people and people of Irish descent for their fantastic generosity during the Covid-19 crisis. The Navajo people have been hit particularly hard, with more than 3,000 cases and more than 100 deaths, much higher per capita than many other ethnic groups.
Doreen McPaul said Irish support in sending donations to help people cope with the lockdown and associated problems caused by coronavirus had been staggering. The reason for the generosity goes back 180 years to the time of the Irish Famine Holocaust.
When famine ravaged Ireland after the potato crop failed in the 1840s, the native American tribe the Choctaw Nation didn’t hesitate to do all they could to help. They rallied together a raised $170 to send the Irish relief fund of America. That would be the equivalent of €68,500 today.
It was a fantastic gesture made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Choctaw were still recovering from a devastating ordeal of their own 16 years earlier, when they were forced from their homelands in what is now known as Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
The American government took the land from them, and the Choctaw were forced to march the 500 miles north to Oklahoma to the land the government had designated to them.
The march is known as the Trail of Tears. More than half of the 21,000 members of the Choctaw tribe perished on the journey from starvation and exhaustion.
Now, 180 years later, the Irish have rallied to help the people of the Navajo Nation by supporting their GoFundMe campaign, which was set up to provide food, water and other essential supplies for families in the territory. It has raised more than $3.5m – a fantastic effort with the organisers singling out Irish people for praise following their fantastic support.
The Navajo Attorney General, Doreen McPaul, recorded a special thank you message to the Irish people saying that their generosity had made her particularly proud because of her own Irish heritage. Both her grandfathers are Irish, and her father has dual Irish and US citizenship.
You can see Doreen’s message here.
The video prompted a warm response in Ireland and across the world:
One viewer, commented: “2 days ago My parents and I were walking in a forest close to our home, Lough Eske, Donegal Town. There is a famine pot there, which the Navajo Nation helped pay for. Your tribe helped us survive when we were starving. Your gesture and generosity will never be forgotten.”
Another wrote: “Oh, you’re gorgeous! What a lovely story. I find these connections so touching – I love that Irish people found their way to the Nation and that the ties are still so strong between the two halves of your family today.”
Joe Mullen wrote: “Hi Doreen, hello from County Sligo. Thanks for the video. I hope you get all the help possible to keep your people safe.”
Another viewer said: “I really hope Ireland and the Navajo Nation will have a strong bond of friendship for many generations to come.”