By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has selected seven people to represent the Tribe on the 2015 Remember the Removal Ride which will retrace the Trail of Tears. The 950-mile ride will start in New Echota, Ga. on June 7 and riders are scheduled to pull into Tahlequah, Okla. on June 25.
Meet the EBCI riders below:
- Kelly Murphy, 25, Painttown Community, teacher at New Kituwah Academy. “I decided to take on the Remember the Removal ride because I wanted to do something big for myself and to see the Trail of Tears through my own eyes. I want to be able to dig deep for my self-motivation. I get motivation from everyone around me, but I am my own worst critic. I want to be able to say, ‘Yes! I did it on my own!’”
- Darius Thompson, 18, Big Y Community, student at Southwestern Community College. “The reason I decided to do the bike ride is because I would be honoring my Choctaw side and my Cherokee side. I hope to gain leadership from this as well as gain more knowledge about the Trail of Tears.”
- Savannah Hicks, 21, Painttown Community, employee at Tsali Care Center. “I wanted to do the Remember the Removal bike ride to learn more about the Trail of Tears and about my family history. I hope to gain a better understanding of what our people went through and to be able to take my experiences and what I learn and to share with others.”
- Matt Martens, 29, Yellowhill Community, employee at Cherokee Indian Hospital Dental. “’Choosing a goal and sticking to it changes everything.’ With this quote, I want to show my family, my son and everyone else that anything is possible when you set a goal and are determined.”
- Jake Stephens, 36, Birdtown Community, BIA survey technician. “One reason I wanted to do this ride is to inspire my kids to always go after the things they want in life. Every morning we have two choices – to continue to sleep with our dreams or wake up and chase them. I’ve wanted to do this ride for the past couple of years, but have never applied. So, this year I decided to wake up and chase one of mine.”
- Kevin Tafoya, 36, Wolfetown Community, employee at Cherokee Transit. “I decided to take on the Remember the Removal Ride to honor my family, both in Cherokee and in Oklahoma. I hope to gain a soul-enlightening experience that will let me better understand what my ancestors lived through. I want to inspire my family and children to hold dear their ancestry and traditions.”
- Corlee Thomas-Hill, 24, Yellowhill Community. “History and cycling are two of my favorite hobbies so it is great to have a way to combine them in such a unique way. I graduated from UNCA last December after studying history, and I feel like even though I learned about the Trail of Tears, I think this will offer a much broader understanding of what happened.”