DURANT, Okla. (KTEN) — On this St. Patrick's Day, members of the Choctaw Nation reflected on the tribe's 175 years of friendship with Ireland.

That special relationship began way back in 1847.

"There's an ongoing relationship between the government of Ireland and the Choctaw Nation," said Audrey Jacob, director of art at the Choctaw Cultural Center in Calera. "Just recognition of similar cultures and being able to move forward."

The Choctaw people made a donation to the people of Ireland in a time of famine over 175 years ago.

"That was shortly after our people started the first removals on the Trail of Tears, and just a horrific time in history," said Seth Fairchild, the nation's executive director of cultural services.

That donation was something the Irish never forgot, with the island nation erecting a 20-foot tall work of art commemorating the friendship.

The Kindred Sprits sculpture in Cork, Ireland.

"The sculpture that's in Ireland today is called Kindred Spirits, and it's because during most of the hardest times for both of our peoples, we recognized what each other was going through," Fairchild said.

Choctaw Nation officials welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, on March 12, 2018.

"The government of Ireland instituted what's called the Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship," Fairchild said. "They fund a Choctaw student to go to  the University College Cork every year, and we are in the fourth year of that now."

Five years later, both the Irish and the Choctaw Nation continue this special bond.

"The government of Ireland donated $100,000 to the Choctaw Nation; the tribe matched that; so we'll be able to use $200,000 on this sculpture project," Fairchild said. "In a couple of weeks, we'll be announcing a big project that will honor both groups of people."