About 17 bicyclists stopped at the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville Friday morning as they made their way along the Remember the Removal bike ride.
Nine participants are from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and eight are from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from Cherokee, North Carolina.
Twenty-one year old Amari McCoy of Sallisaw, Oklahoma says riding the northern route her ancestors took during the forced removal of the Cherokees from their original homeland to what is now Oklahoma has helped her understand her own identity.
She says it’s important for her and the other participants to continue shedding light a painful part of American history.
McCoy says there are vivid reminders along the route of the enormous losses the Cherokee people withstood as they were forced to Oklahoma.
The ride became an annual event in 2009 and over 175 people have participated. Approximately 4,000 Cherokee people died from cold, hunger and disease during the forced removal.