Ireland Remembers

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Kindred Spirits Sculpture in Midleton Co. Cork
“Kindred Spirits” by Alex Pentek

So all this hand washing has resulted in a bit of a water shortage here in Ireland – but spare a thought for the Navajo, the Native American nation who live in the dry, dry lands of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

An estimated 40% of them do not have running water in the home, and this has been a major factor in the fight against the Corona virus there.

So why am I telling you this?  Well, there is a connection – and it relates to the public sculpture above, entitled “Kindred Spirits”, the work of Cork-based artist Alex Pentek.  This sculpture was commissioned by Midleton Town Council to recognise the generosity of the Choctaw Nation during the Irish Famine.

I’ve written before about the story of the sculpture.

map of USA with Native American Ancestral lands
Map from Emerson

In 1847 the Choctaw people organised a special collection to send aid to Ireland to help feed the starving. They showed such generosity despite the great hardship they themselves had suffered, having been driven from their ancestral lands by white settlers in what became known as the “Trail of Tears”.

Nowadays the Choctaw Nation is largely based in Oklahoma – about a thousand miles away from the Navajo and Hopi Nations – but what’s a thousand miles when you’re another two or three thousand miles away, across the sea.

Anyway, when the Navajo set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to buy bottled water, somehow it was noticed in Ireland and the people here started sending donations.  At one stage the list of donors was dominated by Irish surnames.

Ní neart go cur le chéile  – wrote someone in the ‘Comments’ section.  Another wrote: Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.  Old Irish proverbs about how we depend on each other and are stronger together.   Others simply wrote: “Ireland remembers”.

Check out this GoFundme campaign and donate if you can.

Alex Pentek


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