Cyclists ride nearly 1,000 miles to help those remember Trail of Tears

Cyclists ride nearly 1,000 miles to help those remember Trail of Tears

(KFVS) - About 20 riders passed through the Heartland on Monday, June 15 and on Tuesday they were heading toward Oklahoma.

Their mission is simple. To remember the removal of their people: the Cherokees.

After gold was discovered in Georgia in 1829, the U.S. Government created an illegal treaty with a small group to leave their homes and relocate in the vast unknown "Indian Territory" west of Arkansas.

The event took place over the course of two years in 1838 and 1839 where they hiked it out through trails from Echota, Georgia to Tahlequah, Okla.

This later became known as the Trail of Tears.

An estimated 16,000 people were forcibly removed. While traveling to Oklahoma, about 4,000 people lost their life due to the harsh conditions of the environment.

The riders on Tuesday traveled the Northern Trail through southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.

Along their way through Cape Girardeau, they visited the Trail of Tears park and appreciate the knowledge being displayed and shared for people's education, not only at the Trail of Tears State Park, but displays and signs all along the trail through southern Illinois and in Missouri.

Joseph Erb, defendant of the Cherokee Tribe, feels it's important that we educate those and remember the people that are such a value to the United States.

"We give remembrance to the people we lost and the unjust removal from our people in our homelands. It goes a long way to help us heal as a people and understand where our people came from," said Erb.

The group should arrive in Oklahoma by the end of June.

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