TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation is now accepting applications for the 2023 Remember the Removal Bike Ride, which retraces the northern route of the Trail of Tears over a span of three weeks. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 9.
Cherokee Nation citizens between the ages of 16 and 24 who are ultimately chosen for the program 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 more than 180 years ago.
Applications are available online at https://rtr.cherokee.org and require applicants to answer essay questions, provide references and more. Applicants must also be available for an interview once the application deadline has closed.
“The Cherokee Nation is a proud supporter of the hard work and determination of young Cherokees who have a desire to learn more about our culture and our history while honoring our ancestors,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “It’s a life-changing event that tests the courage, strength, and personal perseverance of all the riders who are taking part in the journey. Bicycling across the northern route of the Trail of Tears will be a life-changing experience for the participants who are chosen for the journey.”
The Remember the Removal Bike Ride was created in 1984 as a youth leadership program. After a hiatus, the program was restarted in 2009. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians also joins the Cherokee Nation on the journey that begins in New Echota, Georgia.
To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:
• Be a Cherokee Nation citizen
• Must not have previously participated in the ride
• Be age 16-24 by January 1, 2023
• Be able to pass a sports physical during orientation pre-training and post-training
• Must commit to physically attending all mandatory trainings and classes in Tahlequah
• Follow code of conduct policies
Finalists will be selected by a committee to attend training and history courses. Those finalists who are selected and meet all requirements before, during and after training will officially be chosen as 2023 riders.
Applications are available online by visiting https://rtr.cherokee.org.
Applications are also available for a mentor rider, who must be a Cherokee Nation citizen and 35 years or older as of Jan. 1, 2023. The applications for the mentor rider can also be found on the RTR website.