Yona Wade and Hillary Smith are currently training to embark on the Remember the Removal Ride from New Echota, Ga. to Tahlequah, Okla. this June. Wade and Smith will take the place of Gerri Grady and Dakota Brown who are not able to make the ride.
“I am truly grateful to represent the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as a 2013 Remember the Removal Cherokee Rider,” said Smith. “I am overwhelmed with emotion to have the opportunity to build camaraderie with my teammates, to share and learn together the true, historical facts of the Trail of Tears. The Remember the Removal Ride has significant meaning to me, a spiritual journey. This journey is not a quest to conquer, but a journey of enlightenment, which may clarify what it means to me to be an Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian. I thank all of you, for the opportunity to ride in your honor (past, present and future generations).”
Wade commented, “I am grateful to be given this opportunity to not only represent my tribe, but my community and family. The Trails of Tears was a dark chapter in our history as Cherokees and Americans. This ride for me is a way to show respect to those who walked those many miles and praise those who were able to stay and who in time, would make up the core of our Eastern Band.”
– Remember the Removal Ride committee