This year’s cyclists range in age from 16 to 24. They will join eight cyclists from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina on a 950-mile ride that begins in New Echota, Georgia, on June 4, and concludes in Tahlequah on June 22.
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 of 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 Brian Barlow, Hunter Scott, Ellic Miller and Macie Sullateskee, all of Cherokee County; Trey Pritchett, KenLea Henson and Susie Q. Means-Worley, all of Adair County; Skylar Vann and Gaya Pickup, both of Mayes County; Breanna Anderson, of Tulsa County; Shelby Deal, of Muskogee County; and Raven Girty, of Sequoyah County. Will Chavez, a participant of the original 1984 Remember the Removal Bike Ride, was also chosen as the inaugural “Mentor Rider.”
WHAT: Send-off ceremony for the 2017 Remember the Removal cyclists
WHEN: Tuesday, May 30
WHERE: W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex
17675 S. Muskogee Ave.
WHO: Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden
Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd
Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin
Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.
2015 Remember the Removal cyclist Caleb Cox
2017 Remember the Removal cyclists