Published On: Fri, May 30th, 2014

Remember the Removal Riders embark on their journey

A special send-off event was held for the 2014 Remember the Removal riders at Kituwah on Friday, May 30.  (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

A special send-off event was held for the 2014 Remember the Removal riders at Kituwah on Friday, May 30. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

Nineteen Cherokees will retrace the Trail of Tears on a 950-mile bike ride during the month of June.  This year’s Remember the Removal riders were honored at a special send-off event at Kituwah on Friday, May 30.

“I’m excited to go now,” said EBCI rider Ty Bushyhead Boyd.  “I’ve been training, and I’m just excited to hit the road.  I can’t wait to see Tahlequah (Oklahoma).”

The riders will leave New Echota, Ga. on Sunday, June 1 and travel almost 42 miles to Red Clay, Tenn. during the first day of their journey.

Fellow EBCI rider Russell Bigmeat echoed Bushyhead Boyd’s sentiments and commented, “I’m excited to get going.  I’ve been to Oklahoma a couple of times…I’m excited to meet new people.”

Pat Watkins, EBCI rider, related, “I’m excited about the trip.  I’m nervous about the trip, and I’m just hoping that everyone supports us and gives us all the prayers along the way.”

The ride itself will encompass 19 days which includes two rest days.  The riders are scheduled to pull into Tahlequah, Okla. on Thursday, June 19.

Kelsey Standingdeer Owle, EBCI rider, noted, “It feels amazing.  I am just beyond excited to start this adventure especially since we now have the Western (Cherokee) Nation with us here, it just makes it seem more real.  We’ve been preparing for so long and now we’re leaving tomorrow.  I’m just so excited to get going.”

The other EBCI riders are father-daughter pair Richie and Katie Sneed.  The riders from the Cherokee Nation include:  Cassie Moore, Charli Barnoskie, Adriana Collins, Keeley Godwin, Carly Copeland, Jordan McLaren, Zane Scullawl, Chance Rudolph, Elizabeth Burns, Jamekah Rios, Madison Taylor, Jacob Chavez, and Kassidy “Tye” Carnes.

The EBCI riders on this year's journey are shown with Principal Chief Michell Hicks (center) at Friday's send-off event.  Shown (left-right) are Ty Bushyhead Boyd, Kelsey Standingdeer Owle, Russell Bigmeat, Chief Hicks, Pat Watkins, Katie Sneed, and Richie Sneed.

The EBCI riders on this year’s journey are shown with Principal Chief Michell Hicks (center) at Friday’s send-off event. Shown (left-right) are Ty Bushyhead Boyd, Kelsey Standingdeer Owle, Russell Bigmeat, Chief Hicks, Pat Watkins, Katie Sneed, and Richie Sneed.

Principal Chief Michell Hicks was at Friday’s event to see the riders off.  “Anytime we can get closer to the roots of who we are as a people with our culture and history and come down to this place that we call the Mother Town, it is special.  The tranquility of this place, and the blood that was left on this land, that’s why we’re still here guys.”

Principal Chief Michell Hicks speaks at Friday's event.

Principal Chief Michell Hicks speaks at Friday’s event.

“We’ve always worked hard,” he continued.  “We’ve survived a lot and our history has not always been that great, but we’re still here, and I tell you today that our Cherokee nations are stronger than we’ve ever been.  We are truly blessed.”

Carmaleta Monteith, an EBCI tribal member, spoke on behalf of the North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association.  “We’ve been involved in some capacity since Chief Hicks promoted us joining the Cherokee Nation in this special event.  We’ve been able to sponsor certain things in different capacities…it’s very special for us to be able to support this event.”

Marvel Welch, an EBCI tribal member who went on the Ride last year, gave some encouraging words to the riders.  “I am so proud of each and every one of you…it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, you will make it because we are still here.”

“I had so much doubt in my heart, and what kept me going was even though I was tired and wanted to quit, our people didn’t have that choice to quit.  They had to move on.”

And, the riders will move on.  Their 19-day itinerary is as follows:

 

Sunday, June 1

Leave: New Echota, Ga.

Ride: 41.3 miles

Arrive: Red Clay, Tenn.

 

Monday, June 2

L: Red Clay, Tenn.

R: 62 miles

A: Dayton, Tenn.

 

Tuesday, June 3

L: Dayton, Tenn.

R: 38 miles

A: Pikeville, Tenn.

 

Wednesday, June 4

L: Pikeville, Tenn.

R: 42 miles

A: McMinnville, Tenn.

 

Thursday, June 5

L: McMinnville, Tenn.

R: 73 miles

A: Goodlettsville, Tenn.

 

Friday, June 6

L: Goodlettsville, Tenn.

R: 67 miles

A: Hopkinsville, KY

 

Saturday, June 7

L: Hopkinsville, KY

R: 75 miles

A: Golconda, IL

 

Sunday, June 8

L: Golconda, IL

R: 43 miles

A: Cape Girardeau, MO

 

Monday, June 9

Rest Day

 

Tuesday, June 10

L: Cape Girardeau, MO

R: 55 miles

A: Fredericktown, MO

 

Wednesday, June 11

L: Fredericktown, MO

R: 42 miles

A: Potosi, MO

 

Thursday, June 12

L: Potosi, MO

R: 47 miles

A: St. James, MO

 

Friday, June 13

L: St. James, MO

R: 64 miles

A: Richland, MO

 

Saturday, June 14

L: Richland, MO

R: 31 miles

A: Lebanon, MO

 

Sunday, June 15

L: Lebanon, MO

R: 76 miles

A: Springfield, MO

 

Monday, June 16

Rest Day

 

Tuesday, June 17

L: Springfield, MO

R: 69 miles

A: Cassville, MO

 

Wednesday, June 18

L: Cassville, MO

R: 64 miles

A: Fayetteville, Ark.

 

Thursday, June 19

L: Fayetteville, Ark.

R: 70 miles

A: Tahlequah, Okla.

 

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