Gov. Ivey signs Trail of Tears proclamation

Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed September 16, 2023 as “The Trail of Tears Commemorative Walk and Motorcycle Ride” in the state of Alabama.

On April the 6th Board members of The Alabama-Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Association, Inc. meet with Governor Kay Ivey at The Capitol in Montgomery as she signs the official Proclamation Proclaiming September 13, 2023 as The Trail of Tears Commemorative Walk and Motorcycle Ride in the state of Alabama on their 30th annual commemorative ride.

Motorcyclists from across the southeast will come together September 16, 2023, for a scenic ride across the north Alabama region to honor Native American Indians. Now in its 30th year, the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride travels from Bridgeport in the northeastern part of Alabama to the northwestern town of Waterloo, and along with the celebratory ride, there is a kick-off rally in Bridgeport Friday the 15th and a three-day Indian Festival in Waterloo for the public to take part in.

The Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride begins at the Alabama/Tennessee state line off U. S. Highway 72 in Downtown Bridgeport with riders departing at 8 a.m. CST on Saturday, Sept.17. The ride travels U. S. Highway 72 West to I-565 West arriving at Redstone Harley-Davidson at approximately 10:30 a.m. for an official rest and lunch stop. The public is invited to welcome riders while enjoying lunch and special entertainment. At 12 p.m. riders will depart and head west through Florence arriving in Waterloo at approximately 2:30 p.m.

A kick-off rally offering children’s activities, live music, entertainment, a street dance, fireworks show and other free family fun for the public to enjoy is scheduled in downtown Bridgeport on Friday, September 15th. Bikes will start arriving at 3 p.m. and the official opening ceremony gets underway at 5:00 p.m.

The town of Waterloo will host a free Indian Festival September 15-17 in remembrance of all those who walked the Trail of Tears. Presented by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, the three-day event offers live music on Saturday night, flute and drum music and displays from Native American artisans and vendors. A River Walk Dedication Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. to honor those who experienced the forced journey with the grand entry slated for 1 p.m. and bikes arriving around 2:00 p.m.

The ride is held rain or shine. For more information on the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride including a map of the route and a schedule of events, visit Or like us on Facebook

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for the voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma. In 1838, the U.S. government hired wagon master J.C.S. Hood to transport 1,070 Native Americans by foot and wagon from Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee to what is now Waterloo, Alabama. Much of the journey followed what is now U.S. Highway 72. Many Native Americans died in Waterloo and others escaped into the hills and today, area residents can trace their Native American ancestry to those who fled. As many as 4,000 deaths occurred because of this forced removal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes. In recognition of this removal process, the first Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride was organized in 1994 with approximately 100 riders participating, and has grown to more that 10-15,000 riders each year!

A ride in from Cherokee NC will leave at 10am Friday the 15th from the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, and a Ride continuation to The Cherokee Nation n Tahlequah OK will leave from Spring Park in Tuscumbia at 8 am Sunday morning the 17th.

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