Links between Ireland and Choctaw Nation highlighted at Cork City Library

The event was attended by students from Scoil Mhuire, who learned of the historic link between the Choctaw Nation and the Irish people
Links between Ireland and Choctaw Nation highlighted at Cork City Library

Scoil Mhuire Junior School teacher Meave-Ann O’Brien and her 6th class students joined Cork storyteller Maria Gillen and Choctaw storyteller and author Tim Tingle to talk about the historic link between the Choctaw Nation and the Irish people.

A special storytelling event at the City Library on Grand Parade brought together Cork’s Maria Gillen and storyteller Tim Tingle of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. 

The event was attended by students from Scoil Mhuire, who learned of the historic link between the Choctaw Nation and the Irish people, the former having donated a significant amount of their money to famine relief efforts in Ireland shortly after they themselves endured the Trail of Tears – a forced displacement of Native Americans in the 19th Century.

The visit forms part of Tim Tingle’s Irish tour, and he joins Maria in Cork, where the Choctaw Nations aid package arrived in Cobh before being sent to Mallow for distribution nationwide. 

The ‘Kindred Spirits’ monument in Bailick Park Midleton commemorates this act of generosity and solidarity.

Cork Storyteller Maria Gillen worked with Yarn Storytelling Festival and Storytellers of Ireland to secure Tim’s visit and tour of Ireland. 

Maria said: “One of the most fulfilling things about storytelling around the world is learning about the similarities and differences in stories across borders and seeing the power stories have to bring people together. 

"Listening to, and telling, stories builds new connections and revives old ones. I am delighted to bring students from a local school here in Cork together for my session with Tim to learn about an old connection they have with the world. 

"The Library is a perfect venue for this too, where many stories are brought together for everyone to access”.

Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. 

Executive Librarian Clare Doyle, Children's and Young People's Services Cork City Council Library Services said: “The Children and Young People’s Services through Cork City Libraries provide a space for young people to enjoy and to learn while connecting with their community. 

"Hosting events like this, which celebrate Cork’s rich cultural heritage and the talent of people like Maria Gillen, are great learning opportunities that build a sense of place, help young people understand their global connections and show how creativity the sharing of stories is valued here and around the world.”

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