Ireland Is Repaying a Famine-Era Generosity by Donating Millions to Native Americans Fighting COVID-19

Ireland's Great Famine in the 1840s struck a chord with the Choctaw people, who were well-acquainted with starvation, poverty, and oppression.
Ireland's Great Famine in the 1840s struck a chord with the Choctaw people, who were well-acquainted with starvation, poverty, and oppression.
cupcakegill/iStock via Getty Images

In 1847, members of the Choctaw Nation gathered for a meeting in Skullyville, Oklahoma, where they decided to join a rather unexpected humanitarian cause: Providing relief to those in Ireland affected by the Great Famine.

The Choctaw people were hardly in a position to part with any resources. In 1831, they were the first Native Americans that the U.S. government forced to abandon their lands east of the Mississippi River and embark on the westbound journey now known as the Trail of Tears. In fact, according to History.com, it was actually a Choctaw leader who coined the phrase "Trail of Tears," telling a newspaper reporter that the harrowing trek was “a trail of tears and death.”

They were still adjusting to life in their new territory in the mid-1840s when the news of Ireland’s plight struck a chord among the Nation's members—many of whom were all too familiar with poverty, starvation, and oppression. They collected $170 (the equivalent of about $5000 in today's dollars) and sent it overseas to be used for food, livestock feed, and other necessities.

The donation forged a bond between Ireland and the Choctaw Nation that not only remains 173 years later, but has also expanded to include other Native American communities. Over the past few weeks, a GoFundMe campaign set up to help Navajo and Hopi families affected by the coronavirus pandemic has raised more than $2.6 million, largely due to donations from Irish citizens.

Many donors have referenced the Choctaw Nation’s selfless act from 1847, offering strength and support with messages like “In remembrance of the generosity to Ireland in our time of need” and “From Ireland with love and gratitude.”

As TIME reports, the Navajo Nation is suffering from one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita in the U.S., with more than 2300 confirmed cases and 73 deaths as of May 3. The GoFundMe donations are going toward deliveries of food, water, and medical supplies, especially to elderly members of both the Navajo and Hopi nations.

While Irish citizens have been exceptionally enthusiastic about the relief effort, plenty of other people have made charitable contributions, too. If you’d like to make a donation, you can do so here.

[h/t TIME]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Google Teams Up With The Conscious Kid on a Book List to Promote Racial Equity in Classrooms

Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone is on the list, and for good reason.
Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone is on the list, and for good reason.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Glamour

Google has teamed up with The Conscious Kid—an organization that promotes racial equity in education—to curate a list of books and other resources aimed at helping teachers establish more inclusive classrooms and foster conversations about racism and acceptance.

The reading list groups works by grade level, and many of them have corresponding teaching guides with discussion questions, writing prompts, and other activities [PDF]. For Lupita Nyong’o’s Sulwe, which tells the story of a young girl bullied because of her dark skin, students in preschool through second grade are presented questions like “Why do you think Sulwe believes she must have lighter skin in order to make friends? What advice would you give to Sulwe?” For Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, high-schoolers are asked to create a travel brochure for the fictional country of Orïsha, “emphasizing its positive aspects and great variety.”

The online packet also contains a number of guidelines for teachers to consider when choosing their own reading material. One helpful tip, for example, is to re-evaluate the “classics” before assigning them to make sure they don’t reinforce racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, or other harmful messages. Another is to foster healthy racial identity by avoiding books “where characters of color can only succeed when conforming to white values or norms.”

It’s part of Google’s broader campaign to amplify diversity in public education by providing educators with the resources needed to do it. Last year, the company donated $5 million to DonorsChoose—a platform that teachers can use to crowdsource funds for classroom projects—for the launch of #ISeeMe, an initiative that highlights projects submitted by Black and Latinx teachers, as well as those that focus on diversity and inclusion. This year, Google pledged an additional $1 million to matching donations made to #ISeeMe projects.

You can see The Conscious Kid’s full reading list here [PDF], and learn more about contributing to #ISeeMe projects here.