‘Remember the Removal’ cyclists leave for 2018 trek

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/30/2018 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
From left to right are 2018 “Remember the Removal” cyclists Parker Weavel, Amari McCoy, Daulton Cochran, Emilee Chavez and Sky Wildcat, Cherokee Nation citizen Crosslin Smith, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and cyclists Autumn Lawless, Courtney Cowan, Jennifer Johnson, Dale Eagle and Lily Drywater. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Ten cyclists participating in the 2018 “Remember the Removal” Bike Ride left the Cherokee Nation on May 29 to begin a three-week trek spanning approximately 950 miles along the northern route of the Trail of Tears.

The tribe’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, the riders will begin on June 3 in New Echota, Georgia. While commemorating the 180th anniversary of the Trail of Tears, cyclists will travel through seven states before concluding on June 21 in Tahlequah.

“The ‘Remember the Removal’ Bike Ride ensures our future leaders don’t forget the past and always honor the sacrifices our ancestors made,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “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 the 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 CN’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 cyclist Courtney Cowan said.

CN cyclists are Daulton Cochran, Emilee Chavez, Lily Drywater, Dale Eagle, Parker Weavel, Sky Wildcat, Courtney Cowan, Autumn Lawless and Amari McCoy. Jennifer Johnson, an Oklahoma City lawyer and Cherokee Nation citizen who was chosen as the 2018 mentor rider, is accompanying the riders. Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett, an avid cyclist, is also joining the cyclists during a portion of the ride.

EBCI riders are Jan Smith, Seth Ledford, Lori Owle, Nolan Arkansas, Brooke Coggins, Darius Lambert, Ahli-sha Stephens and Bo Taylor.

Follow the 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:

Georgia
June 3 – New Echota to Cleveland, Tennessee

Tennesse
June 4 – Cleveland to Dayton
June 5 – Dayton to Spencer
June 6 – Spencer to Murfreesboro
June 7 – Murfreesboro to Guthrie, Kentucky

Kentucky
June 8 – Guthrie to Princeton
June 9 – Princeton to Mantle Rock

Illinois
June 10 – Golconda to Ward

Missouri
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

Arkansas
June 20 – Fayetteville to Stilwell, Oklahoma

Oklahoma
June 21 – Stilwell to Tahlequah

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