Seeds of Hope and Remembrance – Donegal Famine Commemoration Walk

Tony Dalton Falcarragh community gardener receives Choctaw heirloom squash seeds from AFRI organiser Waylon White Deer
Tony Dalton, Falcarragh community gardener, receives Choctaw heirloom squash seeds from Afri organiser, Waylon White Deer

For hundreds of years, Choctaw Indians  raised corn, beans and squash in vast and fertile flood plains,  until the American army evicted them from their ancient homelands on deadly 500-mile forced marches. Not long after, the Choctaw were asked to donate monies to help feed the victims of Ireland’s Great Hunger. They gave what little they had.

The 1847 Irish-Choctaw Famine link will again be included in Northwest Donegal’s second annual Afri Famine commemoration walk. “Choctaw heirloom squash seeds will be handed to walkers by community garden members in Dunfanaghy and planted at the community garden in Falcarragh” explained Maire Nic Fhearraigh, a walk organiser.

The harvest will be enjoyed by both communities. First plantings at Glenveagh National Park have already sprouted. The seeds were donated by Waylon White Deer, a Choctaw Indian now living in Falcarragh. An eventual global network of seed sharing communities is the goal of this year’s Famine walk. “We will be sowing seeds of hope and remembrance” Nic Fhearraigh added.

Sponsored by Action from Ireland (Afri) and Concern Worldwide, the walk will begin at 1:00 PM on Saturday, June 4, from the Dunfanaghy Workhouse Museum to the old Famine storehouse in Falcarragh, known as The Yard. Transport will be provided from Falcarragh to Dunfanaghy and then back to the Workhouse Museum, following music and refreshments. The walk route covers approximately 9 miles.  Everyone is cordially invited to participate without charge. Suitable walk clothing is encouraged.

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