Kindred Spirits: Irish-Native American Solidarity

Connor Donnan

Kristen de Groot, Penn Today

The Irish/Native American connection might seem like an unlikely alliance to the casual observer, but not to history doctoral candidate Conor Donnan. He has spent his academic career looking at the Irish diaspora in the United States, and in the process uncovered stories highlighting the transatlantic solidarity between Ireland and Native nations dating back to the 1800s.

“The Choctaw donating to Irish was not just philanthropic, but it was also a critique of imperialism in the United States,” he says. “These were nations that were victims of the Anglo-Protestant imperial project.”

Donnan’s current research at Penn focuses on labor and immigration in 19th and 20th-century America. His dissertation reconstructs the interactions of Irish Catholics and Native Americans against the backdrop of American imperial expansion, industrialization, and questions of citizenship in the trans-Mississippi West from 1841 to 1924. Read more.