DURANT, OK – Two Choctaw students are in the Republic of Ireland this school year working toward master’s degrees courtesy of the Choctaw-Ireland Scholarships from the Chahta Foundation. Skylee Glass and Aurianna Joines Palmer are attending their first semester at University College Cork (UCC).
The scholarship program was initiated in 2017 by the government of Ireland in recognition of Choctaw communities helping Irish people during the Great Famine, also known as the Potato Famine of the mid-nineteenth century. Barely a decade off the Trail of Tears themselves and still struggling, Choctaws received news of the suffering in Ireland. They collected what they could (equivalent to $5,000 today) sending it through churches to the Irish people. Year 2022 marks the 175th anniversary of that gift. The scholarships include tuition and expenses for a full year of study for two Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma students each year.
Glass, 23, grew up in Verden, in Southwest Oklahoma, where she graduated a state academic champion from Anadarko High School in 2018. In 2022, she graduated cum laude from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, while being active in many different clubs on campus.
“I am very thankful to the Choctaw Nation and UCC Cork for giving me this great honor of being the Choctaw-Ireland Scholar,” said Glass, 23, who grew up in Verden, in Southwest Oklahoma. “I feel incredibly honored and blessed to be a Choctaw-Ireland Scholar,” said Palmer, 22, who grew up in Durant, OK. “This scholarship has granted me the opportunity to experience a new country and culture in a way I could have never imagined. I am proud to be a member of the Choctaw Nation and have the opportunity to continue the relationship between the Choctaw and Irish people during my time here.”