Cherokee descendants bike Trail of Tears - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cherokee descendants bike Trail of Tears

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VIENNA (WSIL) -- More than 20 Cherokee descendants made their way through Southern Illinois on Sunday during the "Remember the Removal" bike ride.

The annual ride marks 180 years since the Cherokee people reached Indian Territory following their journey on the Trail of Tears. This ride allows young Cherokees to retrace that route on bicycles.

The groups journey spans about 950 miles, and the group averages about 60 miles a day. Their trip began in Georgia and will  end in Oklahoma.

Sydnie Pierce, a Cherokee from Locust Grove Oklahoma, says that it's important to remember the dark periods of history. 

"Us from Oklahoma. We don't have a whole lot of hills, so when we started off in the mountains there was Cumberland, we did struggle, but like I said, we're strong, our ancestors survived, and that's what we thought about. That's what got us up the hill, and here we are; we're still making it." she said.

This is the 35th year for the ride. 

A ceremony will be held in Oklahoma when the young riders make it back.

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