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Kindness among nations

November is Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It's a time to celebrate the contributions of Native people and to raise awareness about their cultures, traditions, and histories.

In 2017, in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, a steel sculpture was unveiled consisting of nine, 20 foot tall steel eagle feathers in a circle representing the shape of an empty bowl. The sculpture was created by Cork-based artist Alex Pentek and commissioned by the Midleton Town Council to honor the Choctaw Nation for an act of kindness.

During the potato famine in Ireland in the mid-1800s, one million people died from starvation, and two million people fled the country in one of the greatest mass migrations from a single island in history. Aid poured in from around the world, but one group stood out: the Native American Choctaw Nation. Just sixteen years earlier, the Choctaw people were part of a forced relocation, known as the Trail of Tears, by the U.S. government. Four thousand people died from cold, disease, and hunger. Sixteen years later, in 1847, the Native American Choctaw Nation heard about the famine and wanted to help. They raised $170, about $5,000 (some say tens of thousands) in today's terms.

That act of kindness grew into a friendship between two nations that continues to this day. To read more about their active support of each other, visit the links below.

Kindness, whether or not we are a witness, is contagious.

Sources: Kindred Spirits sculpture and more images: Alex Pentek, artist: Native American Heritage Month and the National Congress of American Indians:

See the good, be the light, be inspired!

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