Cherokee Nation to host send-off for ‘Remember the Removal’ cyclists

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/26/2019 10:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
2019 “Remember the Removal” cyclists are, from left to right, Kevin Stretch, Joshua Chavez, Ashley Hunnicutt, Brooke Bailey, Destiny Matthews, Sydnie Pierce, Shadow Hardbarger, Elizabeth Hummingbird, Kayli Gonzales, Steven Shade and Marie Eubanks. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation will host a send-off ceremony at 9 a.m. on May 28 for the 11 CN cyclists who leave Tahlequah on Tuesday for the 2019 “Remember the Removal” Bike Ride.

This year’s cyclists range in age from 20 to 24, along with two mentor cyclists. They will meet 10 cyclists from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina for a ride that begins in New Echota, Georgia, on June 2, and concludes on June 20 around 950 miles later in Tahlequah.

Cyclists follow the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears, spanning Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, to retrace the path of their ancestors. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees forced to march to Indian Territory in the late 1830s, about 4,000 died because of exposure, starvation and disease, giving credence to the name Trail of Tears.

During the ceremony, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and other leaders will wish the cyclists a successful trip and safe return.

The 2019 participants are Destiny Matthews, Elizabeth Hummingbird, Joshua Chavez, Brooke Bailey, Kayli Gonzales, Ashley Hunnicutt, Steven Shade, Sydnie Pierce and Shadow Hardbarger. Kevin Stretch, the interim director of CN Community & Cultural Outreach, and Marie Eubanks, a teaching assistant at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School, were chosen as this year’s two mentor riders.

Follow this year’s journey at www.facebook.com/removal.ride and on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #RememberTheRemoval, #RTR2019 and #RTR35 in honor of the 35 th anniversary of the inaugural bike ride in 1984.

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