Irish People Return Centuries-Old Favor By Helping Native Americans Hit By Coronavirus

May 7, 2020

More than 170 years ago, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma heard about the Great Potato Famine in Ireland and stepped up to help. Citizens donated a little over $170 dollars — that's the equivalent of $5,000 today — to the relief effort.

Today, the Irish are returning the favor to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe, who are struggling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country. Donors in Ireland have helped raise more than $3 million dollars through a GoFundMe page and other charities.

Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation says he is overwhelmed by the gratitude.

"It's just heartwarming to see the generosity our ancestors showed towards the Irish people," Batton said. "And to see that being lived out today by the Irish people helping out our brethern The Navajo Nation and the Hopi Nation by donating $1.8 million dollars. It just shows that generosity, kindness, hope transcends time."

As of this past Monday, the Navajo Nation reported 2,700 coronavirus cases and 70 deaths. On a visit to Arizona on Tuesday, President Trump said the Navajo Nation would receive $600 million dollars in funding to combat the virus.