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
“Remember the Removal” is an annual bicycle ride that retraces one of the removal routes of the 15,000 Cherokee who were forced to surrender their ancestral lands east of the Mississippi River. They were marched nearly 1000 miles to “Indian Territory” in present-day Oklahoma. Catalyzed by greed and the fateful passage of the 1830 Federal Indian Removal Act, more than 4,000 Cherokee died.
Mentor riders lead young Cherokee citizens on a ride which spans seven states from New Echota, Georgia to the Cherokee Nation’s current capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The riders learn about the history, heritage, language and culture of their ancestors and reflect on the suffering, hardships, and loss they experienced.
During the winter of 1838-39, Cherokee from the Peter Hildebrand Detachment, one of the final migrations, were relocated along the Northern Removal Route, through Nashville, Hopkinsville, KY, across the Ohio River and through Missouri. The were forced to march on foot through frozen and thawed muddy roads. In December of 1838, they reached the Ohio River, but were unable to cross. Freezing temperatures created hazardous floating ice that halted all ferry crossings between Berry’s Ferry, Kentucky and Golconda, Illinois.
For two weeks the group waited nearby in scattered encampments. Some sought refuge under the bluffs of Mantle Rock and its 30' high sandstone bridge that spanned 188'. The arch provided little protection. Neither properly clothed nor equipped for a long and dangerous journey, hundreds died there.
Client: National Parks Magazine
National Parks Conservation Association