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President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Tuesday clearing the way for the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines to move forward. (http://www.msn.com/en-ie/money/news/at-one-end-of-trumps-revived-keystone-xl-pipeline-theres-a-scene-you-must-see-to-believe/ss-AAmeGLO?ocid=spartanntp).

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and other Native American groups have been protesting the project, which they say would imperil their water supplies and disturb sacred burial and archaeological sites.

I am reminded of a beautiful sculpture of nine eagle feathers, Kindred Spirits, which was erected in Midleton, Co Cork, where I managed a school some years ago. The sculpture was erected last year to thank the American Choctaw Indians for their kindness and support during the Great Irish Famine.

In 1831 the Choctaw Tribe was forced by the American army, at gunpoint, to march across mountains, 500 miles to Oklahoma. The trek was called “The Trail of Tears.” The tribe was stripped of their land in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.

In 1847 they met in their tribal land and sent money to a U.S. famine relief organization for Ireland. It was the most extraordinary gift of all to famine relief in Ireland. The Choctaws and ​Cherokees sent the money at the height of the Famine, “Black 47,” when close to a million Irish were starving to death.

Despite the oppression faced by the Choctaws in the years preceding the famine, on hearing of the plight and hunger of the Irish people in 1847, they raised $170 to send to the Irish people and ease their suffering. This figure is equivalent to tens of thousands of dollars in today’s currency!


thank you for remembering and your kind words about our native peoples
the trail of tears is a glaring reminder of what happens when the majority power goes unchecked - in most of our history it was been white male power

i fear that destructive power is now masquerading as the majority although it is still predominantly white and male
maybe the true majority which is brightly colored and led by women can assert at least moral authority and lead to true power
We shall overcome!

We used to call it Manifest Destiny.  Now we call it genocide. 

Thanks for this. The widow's mite is still a powerful force.
Thank you - I hadn't known of their contribution to aid for the Famine.

And what a beautiful monument.

I was very sad, too, when I read that the new president is going to just walk all over them.
A friend who voted for him is in disbelief he has signed that order. Apparently she voted for him believing the bad things he said were just said to get elected, and he wouldn't actually do them.

It's interesting, the narrative people tell themselves.