Posted on 16 April 2021
A large stainless steel outdoor sculpture in County Cork, Ireland, Kindred Spirits commemorates the Irish Famine (1845 – 1852).
The commemoration was for the 1847 donation by the Native American Choctaw people for relief efforts to the people of Ireland. During their history, the Choctaw had occupied land in the South that spread across what is now Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Earlier, in 1831, the Choctaw were evicted from home under the Indian Removal Act (1830), as part of a land grab by European settlers, and forced to trek over 700 miles to a newly designated reserve for them to live on.
This trek became known as the Trail of Tears and it saw the displacement of over 100,000 native Indians and slaves – all people of colour. The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to the reserve. Thousands died before reaching their destinations or shortly after from disease.
Quakers in the region were sympathetic with the plight of the natives and most likely helped with relief efforts. It was in 1847, when the Society of Friends was raising relief funds in Ohio for the Great Hunger that the Choctaw made their incredible donation of $170 ($7,000 today). They had suffered and they wanted to help those currently suffering – with the network of transatlantic Friends facilitating the aid.
Joe McCarthy, of County Cork’s local government, who commissioned the sculpture, says of the Choctaw:
“They bestowed a blessing not only on the starving Irish men, women and children, but also on humanity. The gift from the Choctaw people was a demonstration of love and this monument acknowledges that and hopefully will encourage the Irish people to act as the Choctaw people did.”Joe McCarthy
The sculpture consists of nine 20-foot (6.1 m) stainless steel eagle feathers arranged in a circle, no two feathers being identical, forming a bowl shape to represent a gift of a bowl of food. Kindred Spirits was designed by Alex Pentek and unveiled in 2017.
Image from en.wikipedia.org/