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The Long March: The Choctaw's Gift to Irish Famine Relief Paperback – October 26, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tricycle Press (October 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582460655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582460659
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This deeply moving work quietly and effectively underscores the drama and pathos of a little-known historical episode. In 1847 the Choctaw, themselves impoverished, raised $170 (the equivalent of more than $5000 today) to aid the Irish, then in the throes of the great potato famine. The inspiration for the Choctaw's gift is eloquently explained by Choona, an elderly Choctaw who flashes back to his 14th year, when the gift was made. When the people of Choona's tribe hear that Choctaw leaders have asked everyone to contribute, some wonder why they should help the Nahullo (Europeans), who drove them from their homelands in the Southeast only 16 years earlier. Then Choona's great-grandmother speaks, describing the arduous 500-mile march to the New Lands (now Oklahoma), during which starvation and fever decimated the tribe ("Half our people were goneAAll the old ones. All the small children. Gone"). Her commanding conclusion wins over the tribe: "We have walked the trail of tears. The Irish people walk it now. We can help them as we could not help ourselves." Fitzgerald, an Irish children's book author and artist, illustrates the story with sharply detailed black-and-white drawings that incorporate period ornaments and clothing. The book design, which superimposes unattractive yellow text blocks over the drawings, does not match the sophistication of the storytelling. Ages 7-12. (May) FYI: A portion of the proceeds from this title will benefit Celts & American Indians Together, an Irish/Choctaw organization dedicated to world famine relief.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5AIn the 1830s, the United States government forced the people of the Choctaw Nation to leave their homeland in the area of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and to walk 500 miles to Indian territory, which later became Oklahoma. These people suffered from starvation, cold, and lack of promised provisions. Many died along the way. Yet, in 1847, when a call went out to help people starving during Ireland's Potato Famine, the Choctaw responded, and sent all they could collect from their meager earnings. This sophisticated picture book describes a Choctaw family who must decide if they want to help faraway Europeans, and who, in the process, try to come to terms with the humiliation and suffering they felt about the Long March. Fitzpatrick collaborated with Choctaw representatives to relate this moving true story with universal appeal. Her striking black-and-white drawings capture the events and show great respect and dignity for all of the characters and their concerns. The words and illustrations work together extremely well, presenting the story in a clear and compelling manner.ADarcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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This book made me glad to be a human on this planet.
Big John
Yet WhiteDeer fills these same pictures with sympathy, understanding and shows the great strength, courage and determination of these people to survive.
Constant Rearder
Again, the story is top notch and the illustrations superb, this is a remarkable book.
Joe Keenan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
(I got this book in Dublin, Ireland, recently.)
This is a truly delightful book. The drawings are lovingly created and the story is both touching and well written. What makes it even more compelling is that it is based on a wonderful true act of human generosity over 150 years ago, from one impoverished people to another, who, although worlds apart in both distance and cultures, had a common enemy, in hunger and oppression.
The author travelled to Oklahoma to research the book and has gone to great lengths to ensure the drawings are authentic as well as inspiring. I particularly like the drawings of the great-grandmother and indeed,the clever shadow of the American eagle when Choona raises his arms in the final drawing as well as the subtle, celtic symbols to be found in this same drawing. "The Long March" is a must for the millions of us with Irish-American heritage - every Irish American child should read this book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on May 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In 1847 an impoverished displaced group of Choctaw Indians collected from their meager resources the sum of $170 to send toward food relief for the Irish Potato Famine.
Through the memories of Choona, now known as Tom, who is very, very old, we learn of how he, as a young man, at last learned of that part of his family's history about which no one would speak & yet everyone looked so wounded. The Long March, when his people were forced to walk from Florida to Mississippi all through one fearsome, killing winter.
The Long March is rich in American history & memory. The marvelous drawings create a magically real place. This is a must for anyone who loves looking at other ways to live in community; other ways of teaching the spirit to grow & learning about courage, wisdom & respecting the memories.
An amazing book - to be read & read again & again & the pictures to be studied & dreamed over. Beautifully evocative.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms Z on July 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book seems to be a wonderful portrayal of a Native American family and community and their culture and history. One point that I appreciate is that the author tried to stay true to the Choctaw cultural activities, arts and lifestyle in the beautiful drawings and text. The author did not meld several different tribal cultures together as a homogenous "Native American culture." The message of the book also helps young readers to respect the sacrifices and values of the tribe, as well as to question the way Euro-Americans treated them in the past. A treasured book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joe Keenan on December 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An old man, now called Tom but once called Choona, tells a story from his youth, the story of how and why the Choctaw came to the aid of the Irish suffering starvation in 1847. He relates that when news of the Irish famine reached the village a meeting is called to discuss what could be done. At the Tribal Council, Choonas' uncle Moshi relates the story of the Irish suffering and says the tribe has been asked to help. The silence is deafening. Soon enough, objections arise, "Why should we help the Nahullo?," (whites) is the popular and understandable refrain.

For the Choctaw had suffered greatly under the harsh rule of the white man, the forced relocation of the tribe from Mississippi to Oklahoma had killed young and old and nearly destroyed the tribe. Then Choonas Great Grand Mother begins to talk, she tells the history of The Trail of Tears; she speaks of the starvation, the pain and suffering endured and she shows how the Irish now walk their own Trail of Tears. Needless to say, her arguments carry the day.

Choona however, is not convinced. Back at home he raises objections, his Great Grandmother addresses his objections by telling him of some unknown history, with that things snap into focus and his heart is turned. He votes to send the money.

The author, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick presents the Trail of Tears and An Gorta Mor as journeys on the Via Dolorosa, the Choctaw and Irish walk The Way of Sorrows, their common suffering unites them. There's more to this suffering of course, just as The Word becoming flesh sanctified the flesh, the suffering of the Incarnate Word sanctified suffering. Great as the suffering of the Choctaw and Irish was however, it did not match Christs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Constant Rearder on May 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is worth getting for the artwork alone. The story itself is about a forgotten piece of AmerIndian - Celtic history that is worth remembering: How the impoverished Choctaw tribe turned the tragedy of The Long March into a blessing for a people an ocean away.
This story is true but the parable quality makes it especially worth reading: How this Indian people, the Choctaw Nation, decided to help a specific group of the white race that had afflicted them. In a time of Ireland's great distress, the Choctaw, forgave and reached out to these starving people in simple understanding of the hardships the Potato Famine was creating.
The book is written by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick who is from and who is Irish and lives in Ireland. She reseached the events of this humanitarian gift in conjunction with the Choctaw tribe.
The magnificent art work was done by a Native American man, Gary WhiteDeer who lives in Ada, Oklahoma. He has a tremendous talent and ability. He depicts the despair and horror of The Great March that uprooted so many Southern Tribes. He show the whole tragic incident of great cruelty the grueling trek to Oklahoma during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson. Yet WhiteDeer fills these same pictures with sympathy, understanding and shows the great strength, courage and determination of these people to survive.
I am Irish steeped in Irish history, legend and myth, yet I had never heard the story before. I know several of the Choctaw Nation with whom I shared the book, and they, too, had never heard the story. This is one piece of American - Irish history that SHOULD BE remembered and this book does it with clarity, charity and style.
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