Published On: Wed, May 25th, 2011

Remember the Removal Riders selected

Participants in the Cherokee Nation’s 2010 Remember the Removal ride climb one last hill as they return to Tahlequah after their 900 mile trek to retrace the Trail of Tears by bicycle. This year 17 riders will undertake the same challenge, beginning June 3. (Cherokee Nation photo)

     TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation is announcing the selection of participants for this year’s Remember the Removal Project, a 900 mile cross-country bike ride that commemorates the Trail of Tears. The ride will start on Friday, June 3 and is estimated to finish three weeks later on Friday, June 24. New this year, the Cherokee Nation riders will be joined by a group from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.

     The 2011 Remember the Removal Ride will include 12 riders from Cherokee Nation and five riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The ride originated in 1984 when a group of students and volunteers rode across seven states to remember the 1838-39 journey thousands of Cherokees were forced to make from their homelands to Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma. Organizers from Cherokee Nation’s Leadership Group revived the ride in 2009. 

     The purpose of Cherokee Nation’s Remember the Removal Ride is to educate youth about the Trail of Tears while teaching them leadership skills. Ride organizers hope to promote awareness of these significant events as riders re-visit the areas where their ancestors’ journey took place. Participants also serve as goodwill ambassadors along the way, providing education and awareness of the modern-day achievements of Cherokee people.

     The riders will travel the Northern Trail of Tears route, the most identifiable route taken by Cherokees during the removal. The Oklahoma riders will travel out to meet the EBCI group in Cherokee, N.C. From there the group will travel to the start of the ride at New Echota, Ga., and will ride approximately 900 miles through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, ending in Tahlequah, Okla., the capitol of Cherokee Nation.

     Cherokee Nation’s Remember the Removal riders commit to riding an average of 60 to 70 miles a day for several weeks in various whether conditions and camping at night throughout the route. To condition riders consistent pre-event training rides are held; however Remember the Removal ride organizers believe that commitment to go the distance and staying focused are also important components to completing the ride.

     “Remember the Removal riders test the limits of their physical capabilities, mirroring in part the hardships of their Cherokee ancestors and fostering an appreciation for the degree of endurance of those who made the same trek on foot long ago,” said Todd Enlow, group leader of Cherokee Nation Leadership, who has twice completed the ride.

     Seventeen Remember the Removal riders were selected this year, 12 from Cherokee Nation and another five from the EBCI. Riders were selected by an advisory committee, based on personal interviews, interest and commitment to the project. Cherokee Nation is supplying each rider with a bike, riding gear, meals, transportation and lodging during the event.

 Riders representing Cherokee Nation:

Candace Alsenay of Keys, 17

Spencer Carson of Keys, 22

Spencer Comingdeer of Stilwell, 17

Haydn Comingdeer of Stilwell, 15

Christiana Ewart of Siloam Springs, 20

Joe Keener of Claremore, 17

Lillie Keener of Claremore, 16

Baron O’Field of Tahlequah, 23

Kye Quickel of Roland, 23

Kurt Rogers of Tahlequah, 21

Anaweg Smith of Tahlequah, 18

Kyle Terrell of Keys, 18

Riders representing the EBCI:

Casey Cooper of Birdtown Community, age unknown

Hugh Lambert of Big Y Community, 55

Tara McCoy of Birdtown Community, 40

Blaine Parker of Yellowhill Community, 16

Sheena Kanott of Yellowhill Community, 22

     For more information about Cherokee Nation’s Remember the Removal ride, please visit

– Cherokee Nation release