A sculpture is being built in Cork to pay tribute to the generosity
of the Native American Indian Choctaw tribe during the Irish famine.
'Kindred Spirits' is a structure made up of nine giant stainless
steel eagle feathers, and is a mark of gratitude and friendship
between the Irish and Choctaw people.
statue pays tribute to Choctaw tribe's generosity during Irish
During the famine of the mid-19th century, the Choctaw tribe
raised money within their community and donated it to the Irish
The act of compassion and generosity has never been forgotten
by the people of Ireland, and the two communities have shared a
close bond ever since.
The Choctaw tribe's donation was remarkable because they had
suffered terrible hardships themselves in the years before the Irish
Famine. The American government had forced them to leave their native
lands of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi just 16 years earlier.
The Choctaws forced to walk 500
The Choctaws were forced to walk 500 miles to their new 'home'
of Oklahoma, which the government had designated for them. The walk
became known as the 'Trail of Tears' due to the suffering endured
by the tribe during this time. Many members perished before completing
Officials in Cork decided to mark the Choctaw's generosity and
commissioned professional sculptor Alex Pentek to create the €100,000
statue. Pentek wrote on his Vimeo page: "By creating an empty bowl
symbolic of the Great Irish Famine formed from the seemingly fragile
and rounded shaped eagle feathers used in Choctaw ceremonial dress,
it is my aim to communicate the tenderness and warmth of the Choctaw
Nation who provided food to the hungry when they themselves were
still recovering from their own tragic recent past."
Joe McCarthy, East Cork's municipal district officer, explained
the reason for the project to the Irish Examiner: "These people
were still recovering from their own injustice. They put their hands
in their pockets and they helped strangers. It's rare to see such
generosity. It had to be acknowledged."
It is hoped that chiefs of the Choctaw tribe will travel to
witness the unveiling of the statue, in the centre of Bailic Park,
in Midleton, Co Cork later in the year.
more about the Choctaw tribe and how they helped the starving Irish
Louisiana Indians Walking The Trail of