September 14, 2018
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation is accepting applications for the 2019 Remember the Removal Bike Ride, which follows the northern route of the Trail of Tears over a span of three weeks.
Cherokee Nation citizens ages 16-24 ride approximately 950 miles in June, crossing through seven states, as a testament to their physical and mental endurance. Riders retrace the same path their ancestors were forced to walk 180 years ago.
Applications are online at www.cherokee.org and require an essay, a recommendation letter and more. The deadline is Oct. 12, and applicants must be available for an in-person interview between Oct. 16-18.
“What an honor it is for the participants who are chosen for this journey of nearly 1,000 miles between Georgia and Oklahoma,” said Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “If you are a young Cherokee who likes a challenge, who isn’t afraid of working hard and testing your perserverance to learn more about our culture and our history, this journey may be for you. Participants who bicycle across the northern route of the Trail of Tears will have a life-changing experience. During the ride, they will honor our ancestors while creating lasting memories and lifelong bonds.”
The Remember the Removal Bike Ride started in 1984 as a youth leadership program. It became an annual ride in 2009. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians joins the Cherokee Nation on the journey that begins in New Echota, Georgia.
“For three weeks and over many miles, partipants of the Remember the Removal Bike Ride see firsthand where many historical events in Cherokee history took place,” said Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “As part of this leadership program, these young Cherokee bicyclists will also be ambassadors for our tribe, sharing not only our story of removal, but our perserverance to adapt and thrive here in Oklahoma after removal. This will be an unforgettable experience for those chosen to participate.”
To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Be a Cherokee Nation citizen
Be between the ages of 16-24 by Jan. 1, 2019
Must not have previously participated in the ride
Be able to pass a sport physical during post-selection orientation
Must attend mandatory weekly training rides and history lessons
Follow code of conduct policies
Finalists will be selected by a committee to attend training and history courses. Those who meet all the requirements will officially be selected as 2019 riders.
Applications are also available for a mentor rider, who must be a Cherokee Nation citizen and 35 years or older as of Jan. 1, 2019. Qualifications for the mentor rider can be found online at www.cherokee.org.
Photo Cutline: Cherokee Nation citizen Autumn Lawless and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Darius Lambert lead fellow Remember the Removal Bike Ride cyclists down Water Avenue in Tahlequah as the cyclists completed the three-week Trail of Tears memorial ride in June 2018.