June 02, 2012

"Ocmulgee to Okmulgee" bike tour

Muscogee (Creek) Nation bike tour to retrace Trail of Tears

By Susan HyltonThe journey from the Ocmulgee Mounds in Georgia to the city of Okmulgee is marked by stories of tragedy and loss but also pride and triumph for the Muscogee (Creek) people.

John Beaver and Justin Giles of the future Muscogee (Creek) Nation Museum will be bringing those stories to light as they trek some 1,080 miles for the tribe's first "Ocmulgee to Okmulgee" Trail of Tears Bicycle Tour.

Beaver will be the cyclist and Giles will be filming and blogging along the way during the three-week tour, which starts Saturday and is slated to end June 23.

The trip symbolically follows the removal of the Creeks from the southeast in the 1830s to Indian Territory but begins long before that at the Ocmulgee Mounds area, which the Creek people settled around 900. Today it is the site of the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Ga.
Bike ride brings many Muscogee Creeks to Macon

By Wayne CrenshawAs he stood for the first time on ancestral lands of his tribe Saturday, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tiger began softly singing a hymn in his native tongue, and was quickly joined by dozens of others.

The song, he said, speaks of an appointed land and place where someday his people would meet and have a reunion.
And:The event was a ceremony to start the Trail of Tears Bicycle Tour to commemorate the arduous journey west for the Muscogee Creeks, as well as other tribes throughout the Southeast.

Approximately 80 tribe members came from Oklahoma, as well as a few from other areas for the event.
Comment:  This may be a first for this particular bicycle ride, but at least one Trail of Tears bike ride preceded it: the 2009 Remember the Removal Ride.

For more on commemorative treks, see Trail of Tears Bike Ride and Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride.

Below:  "John Beaver, director of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Museum and Cultural Center, right, shakes hands with Nation Principal Chief George Tiger at the Ocmulgee National Monument on Saturday. Beaver is cycling from Macon to Okmulgee, Okla., on an Ocmulgee to Okmulgee Trail of Tears Bicycle Tour." (Jason Vorhees)

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