Cyclists travel long distances on a “Remember The Removal” bike ride
On Friday, nine members of the Cherokee Nation completed a 1,000-mile bike ride along the Trail of Tears to honor their ancestors.
The Trail of Tears is the route taken by the Cherokee Nation and other tribes when they were forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands, but Friday is the ultimate symbol of the determination of the nine cyclists. “.
“It reminds us of where we’re from and really because they are young people, it reminds us that we have a bright future because it’s in their hands,” said Cherokee Nation Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin.
These cyclists covered 1,000 miles in 3 weeks. They started in Georgia and ended up in downtown Tahlequah, and they all say they couldn’t have done it without the other. Hoskin says runners are an example of how all Cherokees should come together.
“That’s really what I think Cherokee can come together for… that we can support each other… that we can take care of each other and that we have a bond,” Hoskin said.
Rider Kaylee Smith says the ride was therapeutic for her.
She says that before the trip her mental health was so bad that she didn’t think she would be alive to make the trip.
But after completing the ride, and with the help of her teammates, she says she’s a much stronger person than she thought.
“After this three week trip, I realized I could put whatever I had in mind,” Smith said.
Smith also says that after rolling and walking on the same ground as her ancestors, she has never been more proud to be a Cherokee.
“Being able to connect with my culture is something that I will cherish forever,” Smith said.