Cherokee Nation Remember the Removal Trail of Tears Memorial Ride. Photography for Smithsonian Magazine by photojournalist, editorial photographer, Kristina Krug, based in Washington DC, Chicago, Nashville, Krug Photo, portrait, photojournalism, reportage, documentary, National Public Radio, Sunday Times, Evening Standard, NPR, NYT, New York Times, Krug Photo, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Washington Post, resiliance, survival, hope, together, group, connection.
Cherokee Nation “Remember the Removal”
A 950 Mile Ride Along the Trail of Tears
Remember the Removal is an annual bicycle ride that retraces the path of the 12,000 Cherokee who were forced to give up their ancestral lands east of the Mississippi River and migrate to new homes in “Indian Territory”, an area in present-day Oklahoma. More than 4,000 Cherokees died along the route known as the Trail of Tears.
Mentor riders lead young Cherokee citizens on a ride spanning 950 miles and seven states from New Echota, Georgia to the Cherokee Nation’s current capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The riders retrace the history, heritage, language and culture of their ancestors along the Trail of Tears.
During the winter of 1838-39, Cherokee from the Peter Hildebrand Detachment, one of the final migrations, were forced to march on foot through frozen and thawed mud roads, which made walking difficult and dangerous. Thousands boarded ferries to cross the Ohio River. But in December of 1838, a hash winter created moving ice along the river preventing ferry crossings, and they were forced to wait for two weeks for the river to become passable.
They sought shelter in scattered encampments southeast of the crossing on the Kentucky side. Some sought refuge under the bluffs of a large sandstone bridge spanning 188 feet and 30 feet high. The extreme cold caused many, who were ailing and neither properly clothed nor equipped for a long harsh journey, to suffer and die. The area is now known as Mantle Rock Preserve.
Hundreds died during the ordeal, which was catalyzed by the fateful passage of the 1830 Federal Indian Removal Act.
Client: National Parks Magazine / National Parks Conservation Association