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The Irish donate nearly $2 million in relief aid to U.S. Native American communities

3 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, May 06 2020 May 6, 2020 May 06, 2020 9:30 AM May 06, 2020 in News
Source: CNN
A "Stay at Home" sign in Many Farms, AZ during pandemic Photo: Navajo Times

Native Americans communities in the United States have been struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and when one country oversea's became aware of their situation, they reached out with aid. 

According to CNN, donations from Ireland are pouring in to relief efforts that will help the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation during the pandemic.

The Irish, inspired by an act of generosity in 1847 when the Choctaw people collected $170 to send to Ireland during the country's devastating potato famine, have been sending money to a GoFundMe campaign and so far, nearly $2 million has been raised.  

The Choctaw's 1847 donation to the Irish was an act of empathy based on a shared experience; only 16 years earlier, the Choctaw people were forced to walk the Trail of Tears, an experience that led to the death of thousands of their own due to starvation and disease.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is yet another shared experience that both Ireland and Native American communities in the U.S. face.

The majority of the donations seemed to pour in after The Irish Times journalist Naomi O'Leary shared the Navajo and Hopi fundraiser on Twitter, which led to thousands of likes and retweets. "Native Americans raised a huge amount in famine relief for Ireland at a time when they had very little," O'Leary wrote on Saturday. "It's time for is [sic] to come through for them now."

Ethel Branch, the fundraiser's organizer, estimated on Tuesday that Irish people had donated about half a million dollars to the relief efforts so far, which goes toward food, water and other necessary supplies for Navajo and Hopi communities.

The campaign had raised more than $2 million, as of Tuesday evening.

Branch told reporters, "It's very unexpected, but it's just incredible to see the solidarity and to see how much people who are so far away care about our community and have sympathy for what we're experiencing." 

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