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Look after your tribe

Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 3:22pm

A pair of Dublin boys are cycling the distance from Swords to Cork to return a 173 year old favour to a tribe of generous Native Americans.

Jude Cullen (aged 11) and his friend James (aged 12) will cycle 273 kilometres around their estate in Swords, Co. Dublin to raise money for the Choctaw Nation who, in 1847 during the Great Famine, sent $170 to the starving people of Ireland, despite the fact that they themselves were living through very challenging times.

$170 would have been a huge sum for an impoverished community to raise at that time and send to people they didn't know who were thousands of kilometres away.

To commemorate this act of charity, a monument known as Kindred Spirits was erected in Bailick Park in Midleton in 2015.

In order to raise money for the Choctaw Nation, Jude launched the Cycle to Cork for Native Americans GoFundMe page with an initial target of €250.

“We just wanted to give it back to them because they're struggling now because they don't have much food or water and they need more medical supplies,” Jude told the Cork Independent.

Since launching the campaign, the two young fundraisers have cycled more than 80 kilometres and have raised €1,342 in the process.

Jude continued: “I thought that €250 was still a lot, and I thought we would just about make it, but in a very short time it went to €500. I was really excited and kind of shocked.”

Cycling two metres apart for between two and three hours every day, with a daily average of 15 kilometres, the boys hope to complete their epic journey over the course of the next few weeks, at which point all of the money raised will go directly to the Choctaw Nation in the USA.

The Choctaw Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe with a tribal jurisdictional area and reservation in South-eastern Oklahoma.

The Kindred Spirits monument was created by Irish artist Alex Pentek with assistance from students of the Crawford College of Art and Design. Once the campaign is finished, Jude said he would like to continue to raise money for people who need it most.

“We are really enjoying it, and I think we will try more things like this in the future,” he said.

To make a donation to the Choctaw Nation visit gofundme.com and search Cycle to Cork for Native Americans.

Separately, hundreds of Irish people have been contributing to other charity campaigns to raise money for PPE and supplies for the Navajo and Hopi nations in the US.

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