2018 Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride to re­trace Trail of Tears

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Ten cy­clists par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2018 Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride left the Chero­kee Na­tion Tues­day morn­ing to be­gin a three-week trek spanning ap­prox­i­mately 950 miles along the north­ern route of the Trail of Tears.

The Chero­kee Na­tion’s 10 cy­clists will join eight from the East­ern Band of Chero­kee In­di­ans in Chero­kee, North Carolina. Af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties and team-build­ing ex­er­cises in North Carolina, their ride will be­gin in New Echota, Ge­or­gia, on June 3. While com­mem­o­rat­ing the 180th an­niver­sary of the Trail of Tears, cy­clists will travel through seven states be­fore con­clud­ing in Tahlequah on June 21.

“The Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride en­sures our future lead­ers don’t for­get the past and al­ways honor the sac­ri­fices our an­ces­tors made,” said Chero­kee Na­tion Prin­ci­pal Chief Bill John Baker. “It is a gru­el­ing jour­ney on a bike, but the strug­gles on the ride of­fer greater un­der­stand­ing of what our an­ces­tors ex­pe­ri­enced along the trail 180 years ago as they make stops at mu­se­ums, gravesites, na­tional parks, churches and other his­toric sites. This ex­pe­ri­ence will re­shape how these young peo­ple view life and their her­itage.”

The orig­i­nal Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride was held in 1984, and the lead­er­ship pro­gram re­sumed as an an­nual ride in 2009. Par­tic­i­pants learn about Chero­kee Na­tion’s his­tory, lan­guage and cul­ture and get a glimpse of the hard­ships their an­ces­tors faced while mak­ing the jour­ney on foot.

Start­ing in 1838, Chero­kees were rounded up and forced from their homes in Ge­or­gia, Ten­nessee and other south­east­ern states to the Chero­kee Na­tion’s cur­rent cap­i­tal in Tahlequah. Of ap­prox­i­mately 16,000 Chero­kees who were forced to make the jour­ney to In­dian Ter­ri­tory, about 4,000 died from dis­ease, star­va­tion and ex­po­sure to the el­e­ments.

“I have al­ready learned so much and I am just so hon­ored to be a part of this ride and have the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent my tribe in this way,” 2018 Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride par­tic­i­pant Court­ney Cowan said.

Chero­kee Na­tion cy­clists in­clude Daulton Cochran, of Adair County; Emilee Chavez, Lily Dry­wa­ter, Dale Ea­gle, Parker Weavel and Sky Wild­cat, all of Chero­kee County; Court­ney Cowan, of Delaware County; Au­tumn Law­less, of Musko­gee County; and Amari McCoy, of Se­quoyah County. The riders are be­ing ac­com­pa­nied by Jen­nifer Johnson, an Ok­la­homa City lawyer and Chero­kee Na­tion ci­ti­zen who was cho­sen as the 2018 men­tor rider.

Chero­kee Na­tion Busi­nesses Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Chuck Gar­rett, an avid cy­clist, is also join­ing the cy­clists dur­ing a por­tion of the ride.

Par­tic­i­pants from the East­ern Band of Chero­kee In­di­ans are Jan Smith, Seth Led­ford, Lori Owle, Nolan Arkansas, Brooke Cog­gins, Dar­ius Lam­bert, Ahli-sha Stephens and Bo Tay­lor.

Fol­low the Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride at http://www.face­book.com/ re­moval.ride and at www. re­mem­berther­e­moval. chero­kee.org. On Twit­ter and In­sta­gram, search for the hash­tags #RTR2018 and #WeRe­mem­ber.

Cy­clists will travel through the fol­low­ing cities and states on these dates: June 3 – New Echota to Cleve­land, Ten­nessee

June 4 – Cleve­land to Day­ton

June 5 – Day­ton to Spencer

June 6 – Spencer to Murfrees­boro

June 7 – Murfrees­boro to Guthrie, Ken­tucky

June 8 – Guthrie to Prince­ton

June 9 – Prince­ton to Man­tle Rock June 10 – Gol­conda to Ward

June 12 – Cape Gi­rardeau to Farm­ing­ton

June 13 – Farm­ing­ton to Steelville

June 14 – Steelville to Way­nesville

June 15 – Way­nesville to Com­pe­ti­tion

June 16 – Com­pe­ti­tion to Straf­ford

June 18 – Re­pub­lic to Cassville

June 19 – Cassville to Pea Ridge, Arkansas June 20 – Fayet­teville to Stilwell, Ok­la­homa June 21 – Stilwell to Tahlequah


(L-R) 2018 Re­mem­ber the Re­moval Bike Ride par­tic­i­pants Parker Weavel, Amari McCoy, Daulton Cochran, Emilee Chavez and Sky Wild­cat, Chero­kee Spir­i­tual Leader Crosslin Smith, Chero­kee Na­tion Sec­re­tary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Prin­ci­pal Chief Bill John...

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