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HPPR People & Communities

Cherokee Cyclists Honor Their Ancestors With a Memorable Ride

Allison Herrera

The Trail of Tears is one of the most shameful and painful episodes in American history. But now, reports KOSU, the descendants of the original Trail’s travelers have found a poignant—and grueling—way to honor their ancestors. In the winter of 1838, 16,000 Cherokee Indians were marched at gunpoint from Georgia to Oklahoma. Their land was taken from them so that white settlers could develop the territory. 4,000 Cherokee died on the thousand-mile walk. In 1984, contemporary Cherokees began an annual bike ride over the original trail’s route.

The event was canceled for a number of years due to funding, but was resurrected in 2009. It’s called the Remember the Removal Bike Ride, and the three-week journey re-traces The Trail of Tears from the Southeast US to Oklahoma. The ride isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes cyclists through the steep Smoky Mountains in the height of summer.