– Native News Network, Posted May 28, 2013
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – Fifteen Cherokee students will spend the next three weeks retracing their ancestors’ footsteps along the Trail of Tears, which this year marks the 175th anniversary.
The students will ride more than 950 miles on bicycles, beginning in New Echota, Georgia, and follow the northern route Trail of Tears through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, ending June 21 in Oklahoma. The ride was started at the Cherokee Nation in 1984 so Cherokee youth would never forget the hardships of their Cherokee ancestors who made the same trek on foot.
On Thursday May 30 at 10 am cdt, the Cherokee Nation will host a send off for the 2013 Remember the Removal Bike Ride participants at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex, 17675 South Muskogee Avenue in Tahlequah.
Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees forced to make the journey to Indian Territory, an estimated 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease. The Cherokee Nation also joins other riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokees for the ride. Follow the journey on www.facebook.com/removal.ride »
The 2013 riders include the following:
Benjamin Keener, Rogers State University
Joseph Keener, Northeastern State University
Lillie Keener, Abilene Christian University
Noah Collins, Verdigris High
Blake Henson, Fort Gibson High
Marshall Smith, Tahlequah High
Haydn Comingdeer, Sequoyah High
Robert Ketcher, Eastern Mennonite University
Hestin Lamons, Tahlequah High
Paige Carnes, Tahlequah High
Jon Ross, NSU
Latasha Atcity, NSU
Carter Copeland, Jenks High
Lane Holcomb, Sequoyah High
Sarah Holcomb, Carl Albert State College