Native American cyclists wrapping up Trail of Tears ride

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – More than a dozen Native American bicyclists from Oklahoma and North Carolina are wrapping up a nearly 1,000-mile ride retracing their ancestors’ journey along the Trail of Tears.

The Remember the Removal cyclists who began their journey June 5 in Georgia are scheduled to arrive Thursday at the Cherokee National Courthouse in Tahlequah. They averaged about 60 miles per day riding through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.

The riders include citizens of the Tahlequah-based Cherokee Nation and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, headquartered in North Carolina.

They stopped at historic Indian gravesites and other landmarks along the Trail of Tears, which marks the routes where thousands of Cherokees were forced to march by the U.S. government from their native lands into what is now Oklahoma.