YARN Storytelling Festival is delighted to welcome Tim Tingle to Ireland and to YARN, celebrating a deep connection between Ireland and the Choctaw Nation.
Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw, a highly esteemed storyteller and award-winning author. In 1993 Tim retraced the Trail of Tears, the trail once walked by his great-great grandfather in 1835. Tim began to record the stories of tribal elders as he retraced the steps to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi.
Transatlantic solidarity: The relationship between Ireland and Choctaw Nation
The ongoing relationship between Ireland and Choctaw Nation dates back to 1847, upon hearing of the devastation being caused by the Great Famine, Choctaw Nation - Tim’s ancestors, resonated with the suffering of the Irish and wanted to offer them support. The experiences of the Irish people during The Great Famine, in the 1940’s, of starvation, exposure and disease was not dissimilar to the harrowing Trail of Tears walked in 1831-33 by Choctaw and many other tribes. They came together and raised $170, which would now be valued at roughly $5000 (€4743.90), an incredible sum of money that significantly impacted the lives of those starving in Ireland. The money was sent to Midleton in Cork.
This kindness has not been forgotten, over a century and a half and the friendship between the Irish and Choctaw is still going strong. In most recent times, the Irish showed gratitude for the kindness shown to them by the Choctaw Nation and chose to pay it forward. During the Covid-19 pandemic the Navajo and Hopi nations needed supports during the first waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. To counteract the struggle, Irish People raised more than half a million to go towards provisions of food, clothes and hygiene and cleaning products for these people, many directly sighting the kindness shown to their ancestors by the Choctaw Nation as their inspiration to help. This act of kindness was inspired by the generosity shown to those in Middleton, Co Cork in 1847. To this day the relation is going strong with several visits between heads of state on both sides and a statue was erected in Midleton to mark the ongoing relationship and the kindness shown.