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Native Brief: TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA - The Cherokee Nation is currently accepting applications from students who would like to participate in the 2012 Remember the Removal Bike Ride, a journey that takes participants across seven states to experience what is commonly known as the Trail of Tears. The three week trek begins the first week of June, those wishing to participate need to apply and start preparing for it now.
Remember the Removal Bike Ride applications must be submitted by Friday, March 2
“Participants will gain valuable leadership skills, build lifelong friendships, and learn the trail's history in an exciting and challenging way.”
Said Baron O'Field, Remember the Removal Bike Ride coordinator.
“The ride is a great way to learn about the history of the Cherokee people.”
The Remember the Removal Ride begins in New Echota, Georgia and will follow the northern route of the Trail of Tears ending in Oklahoma. The 950 mile journey spans Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Participants will put their bodies to the test as they travel an average of 60 miles a day, mirroring in 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.
O'Field, who has taken the journey three times, said it is a moving experience and will teach a person more about the trail than with any other means.
During the journey, riders will develop a personal connection to their Cherokee ancestry by studying their genealogies and making notes of their family connections. Participants will take time during the ride to visit historically important sites along the trail, connecting their ancestor's experience with their own. Participants will also provide daily updates of the ride by documenting their personal journey through blogs, social media, photos and videos.
To qualify, 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.org
posted January 16, 2011 8:59 am est
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