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Video:Tribe artificially increases wishi population

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
10/06/2009 07:08 AM
KANSAS, Okla. – In a wooded area on Cherokee Nation trust land, two men from the tribe’s Natural Resources department give Mother Nature some help with growing wishi (or wissy) mushrooms.

The maitake mushroom, also known as grifola frondosa, is considered a delicacy by many Cherokee people who find them growing near the base of hardwood trees. Also known as the “Hen of the Woods,” the large mushrooms have brown caps and white undersides and usually grow in clusters at the base of red oak trees in northeastern Oklahoma.

Natural Resources Acting Director Pat Gwin and Natural Resources specialist Mark Dunham spent time in September drilling small holes at the base of trees, where roots connect, and placing plugs containing grifola frondosa in the hole before sealing them with wax.

Gwin said wishi is a fungus that grows in the roots of trees. In northeastern Oklahoma, it mainly grows in red oak trees. As an experiment, Gwin and Dunham placed capsules in various trees, including chinquapin oak, green ash, post oak, hickory, white hickory, black walnut, sugar maple, elm and ash.

“Because it’s so difficult to find these things (mushrooms), we basically wanted to see if we could artificially increase the population,” Gwin said.

The tribe bought 300 plugs containing grifola frondosa from a company in the state of Washington. The plugs needed to be placed in the trees during a period of high moisture that’s not followed by hot weather and a month before the first frost, Gwin said, which usually occurs in northeastern Oklahoma in early to mid-November. The conditions in September were ideal because the area received heavy rainfall.

Six different sites in Adair, Cherokee and Delaware counties were chosen for the wishi mushroom experiment because those counties have a large population of mature red oak trees.



















 Grifola<br />frondosa also known to Cherokee people as wishi (Courtesy photo)
Grifola frondosa also known to Cherokee people
as wishi (Courtesy photo)



Gwin said he expects the capsules to produce wishi in two to three years and that he used a global positioning system or GPS to mark each location where the capsules were left. He said he and his staff plan to visit the locations to check on the plugs’ progress.

“The fungus will become mature. It will send out its reproductive part, the great big wishi, and then it can be harvested. The actual wishi that people pick, that’s just the flower of the plan,” he said. “It’s really the third year when we’re looking to find something.”

He said wishi mushrooms clusters can grow large enough to fill a four-gallon washtub. The proper way to pick it is to cut it off its base and not pull it off.

To prepare it for eating, he said, it should be boiled two or three times to remove the bugs and dirt. After that it is cut up, salted and floured and deep-fried.

“Several years ago a number of elders had wishi trees, and with wishi trees the locations are kept secret and passed down to their family. I was lucky to have a few trees passed down to me. A lot of those trees have died,” he said. “Several years of drought have wreaked havoc on the wishi population. What we’re really trying is get those numbers back up.”
 
Reach Staff Writer Will Chavez at (918) 207-3961 or will-chavez@cherokee.org
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎠᏂᎶᎾᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎧᏁᏉᎠ ᏫᏏ ᎠᏁᎲ

ᎢᎪᏗ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ.- ᎢᎾ ᎢᎾᎨ ᏗᎨᏒ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᎨᏅᏓ ᎦᏓ ᎠᎲᎢ, ᎠᏂᏔᎵᎭ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ Ꮎ ᎠᏂᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎠᏂᏁ ᎢᎩᏥ ᏁᎯᏴ ᎠᏂᏍᏕᎵᎲ ᏫᏏ ᏓᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎬ (ᎠᎴ ᏫᏏᏊ) ᏓᏬᎵ.



ᎾᏅ Maitake ᏓᏬᎵ, ᎠᎴᏍᏊ ᎪᏟᏍᏗ grifola frondosa, ᏧᏄᎪᏔᏅ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏍᏗ. ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏴᏫ ᏓᏂᎾᏮᏘᎰ ᎾᏅ ᎠᏛᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᎥᎢ ᏗᏍᏓᏯ ᎠᏓ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ, ᎠᎴᏍᏊ ᎪᏟᏍᏗ “ᎠᏥᏔᎦ ᎠᎩᏌ ᎾᏅ ᎢᎾᎨ ᎡᎯ,” ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏪᏩᏨ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎤᏬᏗᎨ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎦ ᎨᏐ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏜ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏓᏢᎪᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎠᏓᏯ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏜ ᎣᎦᎳᎶᎹ.



ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏓᏎᎮᎯ, Pat Gwin, ᎠᎴ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏟᏂᎬᏁᎯ Mark Dunham ᎾᏅ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎡᏙᎮ ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᎧᎸᎢ ᏧᏍᏗ ᏓᎪᎴᏍᏗᎲ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ ᏕᏡᎬ ᎾᏅ ᏧᎾᏍᏕᏜ ᏚᏠᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦᏢᏍᎨᎢ ᏓᏍᏚᎲ ᎬᏰᎯ grifola frondosa ᎾᏅ ᎠᏔᎴᏒ Ꮟ ᎤᏓᎷᎸ ᏓᏍᏚᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎧᎾᏫ ᎬᏗ.



Gwin ᏄᏪᏒᎢ, ᏫᏏᏃ fungus ᎾᏅ ᎠᏛᏍᎪᎢ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᏚᎾᏍᏕᏢ ᎾᏅ. ᎾᏅ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏜ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏛᏍᎪᎢ ᎠᏓᏯ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ. ᎠᎾᏁᏢᏗᏍᎬ, Gwin ᎠᎴ Dunham ᏓᏂᏢᏍᎨᎢ ᎤᏥᏍᎦᏟ ᎾᏅ ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏓᎴᎩ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ, ᎤᏁᎦ ᏩᏁᎢ, ᎬᎿᎨ ᏎᏗ, ᎧᎵᏎᏥ, ᏓᏩᏥᎳ, ᎠᎴ ᏧᎧᏃᎾ.



“ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎬ ᏍᏓᏱ ᏗᎦᎾᏩᏛᏗ (ᏓᏬᎵ), ᎣᎩᎾᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎣᎩᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᎢᎦᏲᎩᎾᏛᏅᏗ ᎣᏍᏗᎶᎾᏍᏙᏗ ᎡᎿᎢ ᎣᏍᏘᎪᏩᏘᏍᎬᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Gwin.



ᎾᏃ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᏚᏂᏩᏒᎢ ᏦᎢᏧᏈ ᏓᏍᏚᎲᎢ ᎬᏰᎯ grifola frondosa ᏅᏓᏳᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏩᏒᏓᏅ. ᏓᏍᏚᎲᎢ ᏫᏗᎦᏟᏗ ᎾᏅ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᎯᏳ ᎦᏓᏁᎯᏴ ᏥᎨᏐᎢ ᏝᏃ ᏧᏗᏞᎩ ᏱᎨᏐᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎤᏓᎷᎸᎢ ᎾᏯᏛᎲᏍᎬᎾ, ᎠᏗᏍᎨᎢ Gwin, ᏳᏓᎵᎭ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓᏁᎬ ᎾᏅ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏜ ᎣᎦᎪᎰᎹ ᎭᎴ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᎠᏰᏟ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎾᏅ ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎬ ᏗᎦᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎯᏳ. ᏑᏓᎵ ᏂᏚᏓᎴ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏅ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎸ, ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏅᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏫᏏ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎠᎾᏁᏢᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏅᏒ ᏧᎾᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏄᏰᎸᏛ ᎥᏍᎩᎾ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏕᎭ ᏩᏁᎢ, ᎠᏓᏯ ᏕᏡᎬ ᎾᏅ.



Gwin ᎤᏁᏨᎢ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎤᏩᎭ Ꮎ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ ᏧᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏫᏏ ᏔᎵ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴᏃ ᎢᎬᏗᏍᎨᎢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏩᏢᏕ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎨ ᏳᏍᏗᎭ ᏚᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᏅ ᏚᏂᎯᏴ Ꮎ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ ᎢᎤᏁᏤᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏘᏁᎲ ᏓᏄᎪᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᏅ ᏚᏙᏢᏩᏗᏒᎢ ᎤᏂᎦᏛᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᏃ Ꮎ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ ᎾᎾᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏃ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎤᏛᏒᎢ. ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏓᏅ, ᎤᏪᏩᏨᎢ ᏫᏏ, ᎠᎴ ᏱᏅᏛᎬᎾᏕᏏᏓ. Ꮎ ᎤᏙᎯᏳᏒ ᏫᏏ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏥᏓᏂᏰᏍᎪᎢᎸ, ᎾᏍᏊ Ꮎ ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩᏭ ᎾᏅ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛ,” ᎤᏁᏤᎢ. “ᎾᎢ ᎤᏙᎯᏳᎢ ᏦᎢᏁ ᏩᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ ᎢᏗᎬᏖᏃᎮᏍᏗ ᎢᎩᏩᏛᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ.” ᎤᏁᏤᎢ ᏫᏏ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎤᏓᏡᎬ ᏅᎩ-ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᏗᎩᎶᏍᏗ ᏒᏙᏂ ᏯᎧᎵᏣ ᏱᎩᏓ ᏗᏛᏍᎪᎢ. Ꮎ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏱᎬᏅᏗ ᏩᏰᎯᏍᏗ ᎭᏰᎵᏍᏗ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎥᎿ ᏫᎦᎾᏌᏁᏒᎢ ᏩᏰᎯᏍᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎩᏍᏗ, ᎤᏛᏁᎢ, ᎢᏳᏗᎾ ᎠᎵᏢᏙᏗ ᏔᎵ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏘ ᏱᏗᎬᏅᏕᏍᏗ Ꮎ ᏍᎪᏱ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏓ. ᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎶᏐᏅ ᎠᎬᏯᎷᏯᏅ, ᎠᎹ ᏱᎬᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏌ ᎦᏅᎵᏰᎥ ᎠᎴ ᎭᏫᎾ ᏫᎬᏣᏢᏅᎢ.



“ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᎾᏅᏖᎢ ᏫᏏ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏛᏗ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏫᏏ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏛᏗ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᏕᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏂᎩᏏᏍᎨᎢ.



ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎥᎬᎩᏃᎯᏎᎸ ᎾᏅ ᏕᎲᎢ. ᎤᏂᎪᏗᏓ ᏍᎩᏳᎾᏍᏗ ᏕᏡᎬ ᏚᏂᎵᏬᏨ,” ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.”

ᎯᎸᏍᎬ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎤᏛᏅᎯᏓ ᎤᎧᏲᏛᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏲᎢ ᎤᏂᎦᏛᎴᏎᎢ ᎾᏅ ᏫᏏ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ.

ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎣᏣᏁᏢᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᏧᏁᏉᏨᎢ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ.”

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/22/2015 01:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure by state Rep. Chuck Hoskin that’s intended to provide a degree of protection for highway maintenance vehicles and workers encountered little resistance in the legislature and was signed recently by the governor. House Bill 1113 by Hoskin, D-Vinita, establishes a safety zone around state highway and turnpike maintenance vehicles and employees. Transportation Department records indicate that 57 of their highway maintenance employees have been killed in work zones, while numerous others have been involved in accidents and close calls due to unsafe speed, proximity or inattention. Also, the Turnpike Authority recorded 50 injuries among its toll and maintenance personnel over the past three years, agency spokesman Jack Damrill reported. HB 1113 “may actually enable some hardworking Oklahoma man or woman to return home to his or her family after a tough day on the job,” Hoskin said. The bill sailed through the House unopposed, 96-0, and passed the Senate, 41-3. The bill was co-authored by Rep. Ben Sherrer, D-Chouteau, and was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada. With the signature of Governor Fallin, HB 1113 goes into effect Nov. 1. The new law will require any driver approaching a parked maintenance vehicle assigned to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation or the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to move over into another lane, if possible. “If the driver is not able to change lanes, or if to do so would be unsafe,” the motorist should proceed with “due caution” and slow to “a safe speed for the existing road, weather, and traffic conditions.” Such precautions already are mandated by state law when approaching any stationary emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or wrecker that is “displaying a flashing combination” of red and/or blue lights. Similar precautions are required when approaching a location where an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper or other law enforcement officer is writing a traffic ticket or working an accident. “For far too long we’ve inadvertently overlooked the real safety concerns of these public servants who put their lives on the line to keep our roadways safe,” Sherrer said. “This measure sends a message that we value their service and want them to be safe while performing their jobs.” A violation of the law will be a misdemeanor offense. For an initial violation, the penalty will be a fine of $5 to $500 or by a 10-day jail sentence. For a second conviction within a year, the penalty will be a 20-day jail term. For a third or subsequent violation within a year, punishment will be a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $500. Hoskin said HB 1113 was prompted by a discussion he had with some highway maintenance workers from his legislative district.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/21/2015 02:00 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board will be meeting via conference call at 9 a.m. CDT, June 2, 2015. To attend, please use the conference call information listed below. The meeting agenda is <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/5/9284_150602_EBAgenda.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>. Dial-in: 866-210-1669 Entry code: 4331082
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/21/2015 11:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tulsa Veterans Center is partnering with the Cherokee Nation to create three new combat support groups at the Cherokee Nation Veterans Service Center. To enroll, veterans need to bring a copy of their DD214 or discharge papers that show their combat service. According to a release, the VSC staff understands the issues combat veterans go through and wish to give a safe and private place for these veterans to be around other veterans who can relate to their experiences. The Combat Support Group meets from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays each month. The Vietnam Combat Support Group meets from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays each month. The Women’s Combat Support Group meets from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays each month. This group is open to any female who has served in a combat zone. Female combat veterans are encouraged to join other female combat veterans to talk about their experiences and to find others who can relate to your experiences. For more information, call Matthew Tiger at 918-453-5693.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/20/2015 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A wreath ceremony to honor Cherokee veterans will be held at 2 p.m. on May 22 in recognition of Memorial Day at the Cherokee Nation’s Veterans Center and Warrior Memorial located on the Tribal Complex. Those expected to attend include Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, veterans and their families. According to a CN press release, the program includes the raising of the flags and a solo performance by a Cherokee National Youth Choir member. “Cherokees have always honored and revered our warriors,” Crittenden, a U.S. Navy veteran, said. “We invite the public to join us and pay tribute to all the men and women who bravely fought and died for our freedoms.” The release states that there will be a reception and Code Talkers exhibit following the program. The exhibit includes 12 panels of World War I and II memorabilia to recognize soldiers from the Cherokee Nation and other tribes who used their Native languages to relay important military messages in unbreakable codes, the release states. It also features the 2013 Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the tribe in recognition of the dedication and valor of Native American code talkers during WWII, the release states. For more information, call 918-772-4166.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/19/2015 04:00 PM
LOCUST GROVE, Okla. – The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation recently renovated a park in Locust Grove for children of all ages to enjoy. The $30,000 renovation project helped provide new picnic tables, slides and a swing set for the park located on the corner of Delaware Street and Ross Avenue. “The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation is constantly looking for project opportunities that not only benefit Cherokee children, but all children in our communities, and taking advantage of this opportunity at Locust Grove was a no-brainer for our group,” HACN Executive Director Gary Cooper said. “This newly restored playground gives the children of the community a safe and fun place to come and just enjoy time in the sun.” The HACN used money from Housing and Urban Development funds for the renovation project. “The Cherokee Nation and the Housing Authority are doing so much to promote healthy families. This play structure will be a place for children to come and have fun while they stay healthy,” Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor said. “I appreciate Principal Chief Bill John Baker and the Housing Authority’s enthusiasm for this project for the Locust Grove community.” CN citizen and Locust Grove resident Amber Buckskin Swarer said the addition is exciting for the community, including her two boys. “We are just so excited to have somewhere we can take our kids,” said Swarer. “Before this, there was not really anything. Now we have something and can get our children outdoors and active, and we don’t have to drive to another town to take advantage of it.” Locust Grove resident Ema Parker said she is thankful the new playground equipment is age-appropriate for toddlers, such as her 13-month-old, Chett. “It’s nice to have somewhere with safe, clean equipment that I can bring my son to so that we can play outside, and I’m so glad they put in the baby swings because there wasn’t much catering to babies before,” said Parker. “I appreciate everything the Cherokee Nation and Housing Authority have done to help out and give the kids a good place to play here in Locust Grove.” For more information on the HACN, visit <a href="http://www.hacn.org" target="_blank">www.hacn.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/19/2015 01:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – People can support the “Remember the Removal” bike ride by purchasing T-shirts that support the ride and the cyclists taking part. Proceeds from the sales of the shirts will help support the riders as they travel 950 miles retracing the Trail of Tears in June. The shirts (adult S-XXXL) cost $15 and are available at the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop Tahlequah and online at CherokeeGiftShop.com. Youth sizes small through large are $10. “Remember the Removal” staff members will be selling the shirts at local events such as the upcoming Strawberry Festival. Currently, 12 CN citizens are training to retrace the northern route of the Trail of Tears through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas before returning to Oklahoma. They will put their bodies to the test as they travel an average of 60 miles a day, mirroring in part the hardships of their Cherokee ancestors who made the same trek on foot 176 years ago. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees who were forced to make the journey to Indian Territory from eastern Tennessee and other sites in the old CN, 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease. On the journey, the “Remember the Removal” cyclists visit various gravesites and historic landmarks along the trail, including Blythe Ferry in Tennessee, which was the last piece of Cherokee homeland the ancestors stood on before beginning the trek to Indian Territory, and Mantle Rock in Kentucky, which provided shelter to their ancestors as they waited for the Ohio River to thaw in order to cross safely. The cyclists and staff will leave on June 3 for Cherokee, North Carolina, where they will join up with seven cyclists from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The EBCI has been participating in the ride since 2011. The cyclists will begin making their way back from New Echota, Georgia, on June 7 along the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears and arrive in Tahlequah on June 25. For more information, visit RememberTheRemoval.Cherokee.org. The public may follow this year’s journey on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/removal.ride" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/removal.ride</a>.