Irish repay favor to Native American tribe severely hit by COVID-19

In 1847, a Native American tribe provided relief aid to Irish people that have been severely hit by a period of mass starvation known as the Great Famine. Now, 173 years on, the favor is being returned to Native American tribes hit by the coronavirus. 

The Navajo Nation, which straddles parts of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, has been hit hard by the pandemic, with more confirmed cases per capita of COVID-19 than 48 US states.

As the pandemic intensified, a GoFundMe campaign was set up to raise money for food, water, and other essential support families in the territory. Already, more than $1.5m has been raised — and organizers have singled out Irish people for praise following their support.

The campaign has received several donations inspired by the Great Famine in Ireland when, in 1847, the Native American tribe Choctaw Nation provided $170 (equivalent to $5,000 today) of relief aid to Irish people.

A message from one Irish donor, Pat Hayes, said: “From Ireland, 170 years later, the favor is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship.”

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