2015 Remember the Removal Bike Ride Begins Journey to Retrace Trail of Tears

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Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians riders to cycle 950 miles across seven states

The 2015 Remember the Removal bike riders departed the Cherokee Nation Wednesday after a special send-off ceremony at the W.W. Keeler Complex, officially beginning a three-week journey to retrace the northern route of the Trail of Tears.

The 12 Cherokee Nation riders will meet up with seven riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, North Carolina. The group will start the ride in New Echota, Georgia, on June 7 and cycle across seven states before ending the 950-mile journey in Oklahoma on June 25.

“The Remember the Removal project ensures our tribe’s future leaders never forget our past or the sacrifices our ancestors made,” said Cherokee nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “This annual bike ride from Georgia to Oklahoma is mentally and physically demanding, and I admire these young people for taking on such a challenge. Over the years, I have seen time and time again how each of the ride participants comes away with a richer understanding of what our ancestors experienced in 1839 along the Trail of Tears. In short order, these riders will become a team and learn to rely on one another, while growing physically, emotionally and even spiritually as an individual.”

The ride originated more than 30 years ago as a leadership program that offered Cherokee students a glimpse of the hardships their ancestors faced while making the same trek on foot.

In the summer of 1838, Cherokees were rounded up and forced from their homes in Georgia, Tennessee and other southeastern states to the tribe’s current capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees forced to make the journey to Indian Territory, an estimated 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease.

“I carry a photo of my third great-grandmother, Sallie Mitilla Harlan, who was only 3 years old when she came over on the Trail of Tears,” 2015 Remember the Removal cyclist Charles “Billy” Flint said. “I think about how her earliest memories must be from the trail, and I can’t imagine what that must’ve been like. So I’m carrying her photo because this is the journey she took, and she didn’t have a choice. I had a choice, and I chose to do this ride to honor her and everyone else who was forced on the removal.”

The riders from Cherokee Nation are Flint, Tristan Trumbla, Kayla Davis, Haylee Caviness, Tanner Crow, Shawna Harter, Maggie McKinnis, Wrighter Weavel, Caleb Cox, Alexis Watt, Tennessee Loy and Hailey Seago.

The riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are Kelly Murphy, Jake Stephens, Corlee Thomas-Hill, Kevin Tafoya, Darius Thompson, Savannah Hicks and Matt Martens.

Follow the riders along the journey at http://www.facebook.com/removal.ride or with the Twitter hashtag #RememberTheRemoval. The riders will also travel through the following cities and states during these dates:


June 7 – New Echota to Cleveland, Tennessee


June 8 – Cleveland to Dayton

June 9 – Dayton to Pikeville

June 10 – Pikeville to Woodbury

June 11 – Woodbury to Joelton/Nashville

June 12 – Joelton/Nashville to Hopkinsville, Kentucky


June 13 – Hopkinsville to Metropolis, Illinois


June 14 – Metropolis to Cape Girardeau, Missouri


June 16 – Cape Girardeau to Farmington

June 17 – Farmington to Steelville

June 18 – Steelville to St. Roberts

June 19 – St. Roberts to Lebanon

June 20 – Lebanon to Springfield

June 22 – Springfield to Cassville

June 23 – Cassville to Springdale, Arkansas


June 24 – Springdale to Stilwell, Oklahoma


June 25 – Stilwell to Tahlequah


About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the federally recognized government of the Cherokee people and has inherent sovereign status recognized by treaty and law. The seat of tribal government is the W.W. Keeler Complex near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. With more than 315,000 citizens, 9,000 employees and a variety of tribal enterprises ranging from aerospace and defense contracts to entertainment venues, Cherokee Nation is one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma and the largest tribal nation in the United States.

To learn more, please visit http://www.cherokee.org.
Editor's note: Find all the latest Cherokee Nation news at http://www.anadisgoi.com.

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Julie Hubbard
Cherokee Nation
+1 (918) 207-3896
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