TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Cherokee Nation is accepting applications for the 2020 Remember the Removal Bike Ride from Sept. 9 – Oct. 11. The bike ride 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 more than 180 years ago.
Applications are available online at www.cherokee.org and require applicants to answer essay questions, provide references and more. The deadline is Oct. 11 and applicants must be available for an in-person interview once the application deadline has closed.
“If you are a young Cherokee who likes a challenge, who isn’t afraid to work hard and to test your perseverance, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our culture and our history,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “I am certain that participants who bicycle across the northern route of the Trail of Tears will have a life-changing experience while honoring our ancestors and creating lasting memories.”
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.
“For three weeks over a span of many miles, participants of the Remember the Removal Bike Ride see where many historical events in Cherokee history took place,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “These young Cherokee cyclists will also be ambassadors for our tribe, sharing not only our story of removal, but our perseverance and our ability 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, 2020
• Must not have previously participated in the ride
• Be able to pass a sports physical during orientation pre-training and post-training
• Must physically attend and complete all mandatory weekly training rides and history lessons in Tahlequah between December 2019 and May 2020 (Saturdays and Sundays)
• Follow code of conduct policies
Finalists will be selected by a committee to attend training and history courses. Those finalists who meet all the requirements will officially be selected as 2020 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, 2020. Qualifications for the mentor rider can be found online at www.cherokee.org.