(Front Row, L to R) Keeley Godwin, Kassidy “Tye” Carnes, Carly Copeland, Jordan McLaren and Jamekah Rios. (Back Row, L to R) Elizabeth Burns, Charli Barnoskie, Jacob Chavez, Chance Rudolph and Zane Scullawl. (Not Pictured) Cassie Moore, Adriana Collins and Madison Taylor.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation has selected 13 Cherokee students for the 2014 Remember the Removal bike ride. Each summer, Cherokee students retrace the path their Cherokee ancestors were forced to walk along the northern route of the Trail of Tears.
“I’ve wanted to do this ride for years,” said Cassie Moore, a 24-year-old student at Northeastern State University. “I am very excited to be selected and ready to accept the challenge that will come with it. I’m not only excited to meet new people, but help my fellow riders endure this journey that our ancestors overcame.”
The Remember the Removal Bike Ride begins in New Echota, Ga. in late May and will follow the northern route of the Trail of Tears ending in Oklahoma. The 950-mile journey spans Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Riders will put their bodies to the test as they travel an average of 60 miles a day for three weeks, mirroring in part the hardships of their Cherokee ancestors who made the same trek on foot. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees who were forced to make the journey to Indian Territory, 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease giving credence to the name Trail of Tears.
On the journey, the Remember the Removal riders 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 before beginning the trek to Indian Territory and Mantle Rock in Kentucky, which provided shelter to the ancestors as they waited for the Ohio River to thaw in order to cross safely.
These are the students selected for this year’s ride:
Cassie Moore, 24, Tahlequah, Northeastern State University
Charli Barnoskie, 24, Tahlequah, Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley
Adriana Collins, 21, Claremore, University of Oklahoma
Keeley Godwin, 21, Welling, Northeastern State University
Carly Copeland, 18, Eucha, University of Tulsa
Jordan McLaren, 18, Tahlequah, Sequoyah High School
Zane Scullawl, 18, Collinsville, Oologah High School
Chance Rudolph, 17, Claremore, homeschool
Elizabeth Burns, 17, Claremore, Claremore High School
Jamekah Rios, 17, Stilwell, Sequoyah High School
Madison Taylor, 17, Claremore, Verdigris High School & Rogers State University
Jacob Chavez, 16, Tahlequah, Sequoyah High School
Kassidy “Tye” Carnes, 16, Tahlequah, Tahlequah