George Catlin (1796–1872). Ball-play of the Choctaw: Ball-up (detail). In 1834 Catlin watched Choctaws playing stickball during his travels in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

George Catlin (1796–1872). Ball-play of the Choctaw: Ball-up (detail). In 1834 Catlin watched Choctaws playing stickball during his travels in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

How the Choctaws Saved the Irish

We're overstating the case there—the Choctaws didn't save the Irish, but they sure tried to help. The year was 1847, and the the Great Irish Famine (sometimes called the Irish Potato Famine by non-Irish) was in its second year. Individuals in the Choctaw Nation—with the hardships of The trail of Tears, 16 years earlier, perhaps still in mind—learned of the catastrophe in Ireland and sent $170 of their own money to help.

The sum was "equivalent to more than $5,000 today," according to Judy Allen, executive director of public relations for the Choctaw Nation. "Though they had meager resources," she said, "they gave on behalf of others in greater need." Link to story at NMAI blog: "Happy St. Patrick's Day from the National Museum of the American Indian: A Gift from the Choctaw Nation"

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How the Choctaws Saved the Irish

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