Participants in the Remember the Removal Ride. Photo from Facebook
Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee
Indians explains why the Remember the Removal Ride is important:
On May 30, six of our tribal members, along with 12 riders from the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, set out on this three-week ride. Following a commemoration at the Kituwah Mound near Cherokee, the ride itself commenced in New Echota, Georgia, the historic capital of the Cherokee Nation east. Following the northern route of The Removal, the ride will end in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, capital of the Cherokee Nation on June 19.
Eastern Band riders prepared for months for this journey, studying tribal history and language, as well as undergoing strenuous physical training. Our team, comprised of three men and three women, was a cross section of Eastern Band members. It included a father and daughter, an award-winning school teacher, a middle school guidance counselor, a tribal staff member, and a small business owner. They range in age from 15 to 54.
Along the way, following in the footsteps of their ancestors, our riders visited historical sites and also kept a video diary of their ride to share.
The "Remember the Removal" ride was a journey filled with remembrance. But more than that, it was filled with hope. While our riders commemorated, in a positive way, a watershed event in our history, they also reconnected with our past and tribal heritage. Our bikers also served as ambassadors for the Eastern Band in the communities they visited during their trip across middle America.
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Remembering The Removal by looking ahead
(The Asheville Citizen-Times 6/7)
Cherokee riders retrace path of forced removal from homeland