Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Choctaw Nation Welcomes Acclaimed Musical Group RUNA


February 5, 2020

DURANT, Okla. – The Celtic-American entertainment group RUNA visited the Choctaw Nation for two days to research ideas for new music that will highlight the Choctaw-Irish connection. The international award-winning band is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

On Jan. 30, the five members of RUNA shared their unique blend of Irish folk and Americana roots music and dance at the Choctaw Nation Headquarters in Durant. Chief Gary Batton and almost a hundred Choctaw elders, artists and other tribal members were on hand to welcome the visitors. Choctaw heritage also was displayed through art, music, dance and storytelling.

The following day, tours were conducted at Choctaw historical sites, including the traditional capital of Tvshka Homma, the landing that marked the end of the Trail of Tears, and Skullyville.

RUNA spokesperson Shannon Lambert-Ryan said, "There is no better way than to go to the source." Members of RUNA currently reside in Pennsylvania, Canada and Ireland. "We thought we'd come and chat with a musician or two," she said. "Never in our wildest dreams did we expect all this."

The inspiration for their new musical project dates back to the infamous "potato famine" in which Irish people were starving. The Choctaws, in 1847, hardly a decade off of the Trail of Tears, heard of the plight and collected what was then a small fortune to them, $170, and sent it to Ireland to buy food. The gift was credited with saving thousands of lives. The gratitude of the Irish people and the friendship of the two nations last to this day.

The Irish folk group RUNA arrives Jan. 30 at the Choctaw Nation Headquarters in Durant. From left, are Shannon Lambert-Ryan, Cheryl Prashker, Fionán de Barra, Caleb Edwards and Jake James.

About The Choctaw Nation

The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with nearly 200,000 tribal members and more than 10,000 employees. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, the historic boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation's vision, "Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture," is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to http://www.choctaw


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