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Irish donors raise £2m in Covid relief for Native Americans inspired by solidarity during the Great Hunger

NEARLY $2.5 million (£2m) has been raised for Native Americans from Irish donors inspired by the solidarity shown to them by the Najavo nation during the 1847 Gorta Mor (Great Hunger).

A GoFundMe page was set up for the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation, which has one of the highest per capita rates of Covid-19 infections in the US.

A high percentage of the nation’s 175,000 population falls into at-risk categories.

A statement on the donation page explained that the Choctaw Nation provided $170 of relief aid to the Irish during the famine, equivalent to $5,000 (£4,000) today.

The death of many of their people on the Trail of Tears – forced relocation – sparked empathy for the Irish people in their time of need.

Irish donor Pat Hayes said: “From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship.”

Today up to 30 per cent of Navajo people do not have access to running water, and links to the wider world are often limited due to a lack of phone and internet connectivity. 

The fundraising campaign was launched to support volunteers to bring groceries, water, and health supplies to vulnerable people. It has a target of $3 million.

The GoFundMe page’s organisers said: “The heartache is real. We have lost so many of our sacred Navajo elders and youth to Covid-19.

“It is truly devastating and a dark time in history for our nation. In moments like these, we are so grateful for the love and support we have received from all around the world.

“Acts of kindness from indigenous ancestors past being reciprocated nearly 200 years later through blood memory and interconnectedness. Thank you, Ireland, for showing solidarity and being here for us.”

To view the GoFundMe page, visit: mstar.link/EireNavajo.

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