11 Sep 2021
Annual Motorcycle Ride Celebrating Native American Heritage Through Northern Alabama September 18 | New
Motorcyclists from the Southeast will gather on September 18, 2021 for a scenic ride through the northern Alabama region in honor of the Native Americans. Now in his 28e year, the Trail of Tears Memorial Motorcycle Ride travels from Bridgeport in northeast Alabama to the city of Waterloo in the northwest. Indian festival day in Waterloo for the public.
The Trail of Tears Memorial Motorcycle Ride begins at the Alabama-Tennessee border off US Highway 72 in downtown Bridgeport, departing at 8:00 a.m. CST on Saturday, September 18. The ride takes US Highway 72 West to I-565 West and arrives at Redstone Harley-Davidson around 10:30 a.m. for an official break for rest and lunch. The public is invited to welcome the riders while enjoying a lunch and special entertainment. At 12:00 p.m., runners will depart and head west through Florence to arrive in Waterloo around 2:30 p.m.
A kick-off rally featuring kids’ activities, live music, entertainment, street dancing, fireworks show and other free family entertainment for the public is planned in downtown Bridgeport on Friday September 17. Bikes will start arriving at 3:00 p.m. and the official opening ceremony will begin at 5:00 p.m.
The City of Waterloo will host a free Indian Festival September 17-19 in remembrance of all who have walked the Trail of Tears. Presented by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, the three-day event features live music on Saturday nights, flute and drum music, and exhibits from Native American craftspeople and vendors. A River Walk dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. to honor those who went through the forced journey with the grand entrance scheduled for 1 p.m. and bikes arriving around 2:30 p.m.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 provided for the voluntary or forced relocation of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma. In 1838, the US government hired railcar master JCS Hood to transport 1,070 Native Americans on foot and by railcar from Ross’s Landing to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to what is now Waterloo, Alabama.
Much of the trip followed what is now US Highway 72. Many Native Americans died in Waterloo and others escaped into the hills and today residents of the area can trace their Native American ancestors to those. who fled.
As many as 4,000 deaths have occurred as a result of this forced withdrawal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes. In recognition of this removal process, the first Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride was held in 1994 with approximately 100 riders participating and today numbers over 10-15,000 riders each year.