Riding to remember: Cherokee cyclists retrace tribe’s forced removal
(Smoky Mountain News) On a muddy Friday afternoon they gathered at Kituwah Mound, the Mother Town. Preparing for the journey. Offering up prayers for the sendoff. With the surrounding hills looking down on the pavilion, Cherokees recalled the past and spoke of the future. They wished the cyclists well. “It’s a spiritual event, it’s a historical event,” commented Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks. “It helps us to remember, ‘Hey, it’s not so long ago that this happened.’” The May 30 gathering at Kituwah Mound kicked off this year’s Remember the Removal bike ride. The annual 950-mile ride commemorates the 1839 Trail of Tears, or forced removal of the Cherokees from their tribal lands in the Southeast. The bike ride begins in New Echota, Georgia — retracing the historic journey over the course of three weeks — and ends in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. This year, six members of the Eastern Band will join 12 members of the Cherokee Nation for the ride.
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