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TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA - Riding bicycles, 18 riders rode the 900-mile route of the "Trail of Tears." Last Friday, the Cherokee Nation welcomed the participating riders in the "2011 Remember the Removal" event in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. This event was the third time riders have retraced the Trail of Tears route.
2011 Remember the Removal Event
"What you have before you today is a new class of leaders for the future because not only have they bonded together as a family and challenged their personal limitations but they have gotten to do what very few people have got to do, walk the footsteps of their ancestors on one of the most horrific stories of all of American history, the Trail of Tears," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith at the welcoming ceremony.
Principal Chief handed out medals to the bike riders. He was joined by the reigning Miss Cherokee, Brook Hudson. Both, Smith and Hudson, have participated in previous Remember the Removal rides.
“As a former rider I know how tough it is to go on this bike ride, not only physically but mentally,”
Twelve riders from Cherokee Nation and six riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokees undertook the challenge, which lasted more than three weeks. This was the first year the Eastern Band of Cherokees have participated in the event.
“It's been the best experience I have ever had; all of these people are like my family now,”
said Candace Alsenay of Keys.
David Comingdeer of Stilwell, who rode the trail with his daughter and son, said that completing the trail was not his happiest day as a father but it was his proudest.
“This ride is the only way I have found to really understand the forced removal,”
“I am so proud to be a member of Cherokee Nation. Today I feel I understand what happened on the Trail of Tears.”
From the Cherokee Nation:
Candace Alsenay of Keys, 17
Carson Spencer of Keys, 22
David Comingdeer of Stilwell
Spencer Comingdeer of Stilwell, 17
Haydn Comingdeer of Stilwell, 15
Joe Keener of Claremore, 17
Lillie Keener of Claremore, 16
Baron O'Field of Tahlequah, 23
Kye Quickel of Roland, 23
Anaweg Smith of Tahlequah, 18
Kurt Rogers of Tahlequah, 22
Sarah Holcomb of Vian, 22
From the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians:
Casey Cooper of Birdtown, NC
Hugh Lambert of Big Y, NC, 55
Tara McCoy of Birdtown, NC, 40
Blaine Parker of Yellowhill, NC, 16
Sheena Kanott of Yellowhill, NC, 22
Jack Teesatakie of Snowbird, NC, 62
posted June 30, 2011 10:47 am edt
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