In 1988 Don Mullan learned of the Choctaw generosity towards Ireland’s ‘Famine’ victims while speaking in upstate New York. In 1989 he travelled to Oklahoma to thank the Choctaw people for their generosity and to invite them to Ireland to lead the AFrI Great Famine Walk in 1990. On that occasion he was made an Honorary Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Thus began a wonderful relationship between Ireland and the Choctaw which is outlined elsewhere on this website.
Little did Mullan realise the impact the highlighting of this little detail of history would have in the years following, including visits to the Choctaw by the Irish President Mary Robinson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
On May 5, 2020, Mullan began to get texts telling him of a news item on the main Irish (RTE) television news concerning an outpouring of generosity from Ireland to a GoFundMe Covid-19 appeal by Navajo/Hopi Native Americans. The organizers were surprised by the many donations that were coming from Ireland, many of them referencing the Choctaw generosity to Ireland in 1847, the darkest year of the Great ‘Famine’. The story has now gone viral, with international medial outlets also covering it:
Here is a link to the RTE coverage.
Here is a link to CNN coverage:
Here is a link to an Irish Times article.
And here is the link to the GoFundMe appeal that has called forth such an inspiring outpouring of humanity from the Irish worldwide.