The kindness of strangers.
In a small town in County Cork, Ireland, a monument stands in appreciation to the American Choctaw Indian tribe. Although impoverished, shortly after being forced to walk the “Trail of Tears”, the tribe somehow gathered $170 to send to Ireland for famine relief in 1847.
That’s roughly $5,362.84 in today’s money.
The sculpture consists of nine 20-foot 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.
It was created by Alex Pentek at the Sculpture Factory in Cork, Ireland, with assistance from students of the Crawford College of Art and Design, and installed in Bailick Park in 2015.
A million people died in Ireland and another two million left the country when the potato crop failed for successive years, removing a vegetable that poor people ate every day.
The memorial exemplifies the incredible generosity of the Choctaw people, because just 16 years prior, they were forced to leave their ancestral lands and march 500 miles on the Trail of Tears in terrible winter conditions.
“We had been through so much, losing so many of our people through death because of the weather, starvation and disease that 16 years later we heard about the Famine and the horrible situation that they were going through, we felt such empathy that we wanted to help,” said historian Julie Allen.
“This is just such a blessing to us, that the links between our nations can be strengthened with this sculpture.”