The Cherokee Nation will host a send-off ceremony for the nine young Cherokee cyclists who leave Tahlequah on Tuesday for the 2018 Remember the Removal Bike Ride.
This year’s cyclists range in age from 18 to 24. They will meet eight cyclists from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina for a ride that begins in New Echota, Georgia, on June 3, and concludes around 950 miles later in Tahlequah on June 21.
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, 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease, giving credence to the name Trail of Tears.
During the send-off ceremony, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and other tribal leaders will wish the cyclists a successful trip and safe return.
The 2017 participants are 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. Jennifer Johnson, a Cherokee Nation citizen and Oklahoma City lawyer, was chosen as this year’s mentor rider. Johnson is a Sequoyah County native and a graduate of Sallisaw High School.
Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett, an avid cyclist, is also expected to join the cyclists during the first week of the journey.
Follow this year’s journey at www.facebook.com/removal.ride and on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #RTR2018 and #WeRemember.
KXMX News Staff
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