Are you a Cherokee citizen? Do you have what it takes to ride a bike nearly 1,000 miles to commemorate the Trail of Tears? If so, and you’re a student, the Cherokee Nation are now accepting applications for the 2012 Remember the Removal Bike Ride, a seven state, three-week journey. The 2012 Remember the Removal Bike Ride begins in the first week of June.
“The ride is a great way to learn about the history of the Cherokee people,” said Baron O’Field, Remember the Removal Bike Ride coordinator, in a press release. “Participants will gain valuable leadership skills, build lifelong friendships, and learn the trail’s history in an exciting and challenging way.”
Spanning 950 miles, the Remember the Removal Ride begins in New Echota, Georgia. and will follow the northern route of the Trail of Tears ending in Oklahoma. Riders will move through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. This is truly a hands-on (and feet-on) experience not for the feint of heart, as participants will put their bodies to the test as they travel an average of 60 miles a day, mirroring, in s,mall part, the hardships of their Cherokee ancestors who made the same trek on foot more than 170 years ago. “Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees who took that journey, 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease creating the Trail of Tears,” a Cherokee Nation press release stated.
The journey is truly an educational experience, as riders will develop a personal connection to their Cherokee ancestry by studying their genealogies and making notes of their family connections. The journey includes visits to historically important sites along the trail, helping riders connect their ancestor’s experience with their own. The ride will be documented throughout thanks to daily updates provided by the riders, documenting their personal journey through blogs, social media, photos and videos.
Here are the qualifications provided to us by the Cherokee Nation:
Applicants must be a Cherokee Nation citizen and a student in high school or college that is at least 15 years old. Space is limited to 10 riders and potential applicants will be asked to provide background and health information, parental consent if under 18 and a brief statement about why they would like to participate in the project. After an initial review, an advisory panel will interview each candidate to determine interest and commitment to the project. To meet the goal of the event, students need to be in good physical shape and make the commitment to bike daily for several weeks in various weather conditions.
Riders must provide their own clothes, bedding, toiletries and spending cash. Cherokee Nation will provide meals, bicycles, biking gear, GPS and lodging. Selected participants must be dedicated to training for the ride, both individually and as a group, and to completing the journey. Applications must be submitted by Friday, March 2. For more information or to apply online visit www.remembertheremoval.cherokee.org.