TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Young Cherokees hoping to learn more about their ancestors’ trek along the Trail of Tears have a unique opportunity. The Remember the Removal Bike Ride” is now accepting applications for the summer 2014 ride.
“For any young Cherokee citizen, being a part of the Remember the Removal annual bike trip is a life-changing experience,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “As riders retrace the route our ancestors traveled to Oklahoma, they get a fuller appreciation and understanding of our tribe’s journey and the strength and courage our ancestors had to not only survive that trek, but rebuild our entire society. This experience brings that home in a very personal and very real way.”
The Remember the Removal Bike Ride is a more than 950-mile journey that travels through seven states, testing riders’ physical and mental endurance as well as teaching leadership and the history and struggles of the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people. The ride retraces the northern route of the U.S. government’s forced removal of the Cherokees from their homelands in the Southeast to Indian Territory, starting in 1838. The historical routes the Cherokees made to present day Oklahoma have been commonly known as the Trail of Tears.
“The Remember the Removal bike riders embark on this journey for all Cherokee people so that in our hearts and minds we will never forget the sacrifice made by our ancestors,” said Bill Andoe, deputy executive director of Cherokee Nation’s Education Services.
Cherokee Nation is looking for new riders who are pursuing higher education goals, willing to learn about Cherokee history related to the Trail of Tears and willing to promote their experiences to external audiences. Selected participants must pass a physical, participate in group training rides and attend Trail of Tears history courses prior to the summer ride. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is an annual partner in the remembrance ride and will have a group of riders participating in the journey.
Applications are now available online at http://remembertheremoval.cherokee.org/ and must be completed by Jan. 3.
Application requirements are as follows:
- Must be a Cherokee Nation citizen
- Age 16 to 24 on January 1, 2014
- Permanent address must be inside the 14-county tribal jurisdiction
- Must not have participated in this program in the past. Legacy riders can email email@example.com.
- Must submit three letters of recommendation
For more information, contact Project Manager Patrick Hill at 918-207-3919 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://remembertheremoval.cherokee.org.