Marie Louise Fitzpatrick » Award-Winning Irish Writer and Illustrator

The Long March

In 1847, an impoverished group of Choctaw Indians collected $170 from their meagre resources for the relief of Ireland’s famine. The Long March is the story of Choona, a young Choctaw who must make his own decision about whether to answer the Irish people’s plea for help.

Choona has heard of the Long March, when the US government forced his people to leave their ancestral home in Mississippi for the New Lands in the West. But as the tribe debates whether to send help to the Irish, Choona’s great-grandmother tells him the full story for the first time. He learns about the many miles walked without blankets or food. He learns how families were forced to leave the bodies of their loved ones on the trail. He learns a great secret about his own family history.

Choctaw editing and foreword by Gary WhiteDeer

Winner of a Bisto Merit Award1999, the RAI Special Merit Award 1999; also named a Smithsonian Notable Book 1998 and IBBY Honour Book (illustration) 2000.



‘This deeply moving work quietly and effectively underscores the drama and pathos of a little-known historical episode. ‘ Publishers Weekly, starred Review

‘This sophisticated picture book describes a Choctaw family who must decide if they want to help faraway Europeans…Fitzpatrick collaborated with Choctaw representatives to relate this moving true story with universal appeal. Her striking black-and-white drawings capture the events and show great respect and dignity for all of the characters and their concerns.’ School Library Journal

‘The simple but powerful tale achieves perfection with the superb pencil drawings which adorn each spread…this is very much a book to treasure.’ Mary Arrigan, The Tribune Magazine

‘It is a story that has compelling lessons to teach about accepting our history and recognising the bonds we may share with ways of being different from our own.’ Alan Tack, Native Peoples Magazine

‘The story will leave readers astonished and deeply affected.’ Kirkus

‘…exquisitely detailed black and white drawings accompany this poignant story of Famine times, including an act of generosity from a surprising source.’ Robert Dunbar, picks of the year, Irish Times


Sorry to say The Long March is now out of print.

Publisher: Tricycle Press USA, 1998.
Originally published by Beyond Words USA and Wolfhound Ireland in 1997.
Co-editions: Korea