Remember the Removal Bike Ride Marks 175th Anniversary of the Cherokee Nation's Trail of Tears

March 12, 2013

The 2013 Remember the Removal Bike Ride is the fifth annual bicycle ride commemorating the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from its homelands during the winter of 1838-39. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Nation’s Trail of Tears. The 900-plus-mile trek is accomplished over a three week period in June as selected riders representing the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians retrace the northern route of the Trail of Tears through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation will sponsor a team of riders on the journey of a lifetime, averaging 60 miles of riding per day.

“Today students read in history books a brief section about the removal, but by participating in the ride they are able to experience firsthand the trials and tribulations of the Trail of Tears,” said coordinator Taylor Alsenay, in a Cherokee Nation press release. “The Remember the Removal Bike Ride is a great lifetime experience.”

During evenings and along the way, the group will explore and experience activities that link the riders to the experiences their Cherokee ancestors had at the time of the removal. The ride is both an educational opportunity and a goodwill event. While on the trip, individual riders will use blogging and other social media, photos and videos to provide daily updates of their experiences on the ride. The ride will culminate with an exciting homecoming event as the team arrives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capitol of the Cherokee Nation.

Remember the Removal bike riders from 2012 traveled the Trail of Tears route through Missouri. Applications for 2013 riders are now available for the three-week ride in June. (Photo by Cherokee Nation)

Cherokee Nation is accepting applications for the 2013 Remember the Removal Ride until March 15. To qualify, you must be a Cherokee Nation citizen, enrolled in high school or college in good academic standing and at least 16 years old. Space is limited and potential applicants will be asked to provide background and health information, parental consent if under 18 and a brief statement about why they would like to participate in the project. After an initial review, an advisory panel will interview each candidate to determine interest and commitment to the project. To meet the goal of the event, you need to be in good physical shape and make the commitment to bike daily for several weeks in various weather conditions.

Riders must provide their own clothes, bedding, toiletries and spending cash. Cherokee Nation will provide meals, bicycles, biking gear, GPS and lodging. If selected, you must be dedicated to training for the ride, both individually and as a group, and to completing the journey.

To download the application for the 2013 bike ride, click here.

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