Team Choctaw, the sister group to the cultural Trail of Tears Riders, is the bicycle group that provided injury prevention education and encouragement to others to choose a healthier lifestyle. Team Choctaw’s 2019 project was to donate bicycles to Jones Academy elementary students. Jones Academy is the residential boarding school for Native students, ages 6-18 years old. Students live and study at Jones Academy and attend public school in Hartshorne. These students may have come to Jones Academy from not only Oklahoma, but from any state in the United States.
Dr. Don Brooks donated 20 bicycles, Team Choctaw donated 20 helmets, the Choctaw donation committee gave the monies for a bicycle rack, CNHSA approved the donation of a second bicycle rack, and a Team Choctaw member donated a portable building for bicycle storage. Nancy Jefferson, DARE Officer Isaac James, and retired OHP Trooper Eddie Bohanan taught bicycle safety and “Rules of the Road” information for the children. Bicycles are vehicles that must meet specifications under Oklahoma State Law Title 47. Helmets were selected and fitted, bicycles were chosen by the child, and last-minute safety checks and instructions were given before the students started the bicycle skills practice those, new to bicycling received one-on-one training.
Several Team Choctaw members, Choctaw Nation DARE, a retired OHP trooper, and support persons gave their time and energies to make this event happen. Many thanks to CNHSA, Jones Academy students and dorm representatives, and Team Choctaw members Lisa Bohanan, Chris Falco, and Jabe Lawson. Team Choctaw extends a special thanks to Choctaw Nation DARE Officer James, retired OHP Trooper Bohanan, CNHSA Transportation Director Gerrick Johnson and his team, John Franklin, Jason Kennedy, BJ Bodine, and Cassie Newman, for their time and support.
Team Choctaw and the Choctaw Nation Bicycle Team were formed in June 2011 by Nancy Jefferson, CNHSA Talihina, in honor of retired Choctaw Nation Judge Juanita Jefferson, an avid supporter of cycling.
The team has participated in the cultural ride from Mississippi to Oklahoma since it’s inauguration in 2012. The team also spends time encouraging injury prevention, alternative transportation, and healthy living opportunities.
Team Choctaw participates in injury prevention activities at Labor Day, hosts and rides in fundraising events such as the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society MS 150 ride. During the ADA Tour de Cure in Tulsa, Team Choctaw proudly represents the Choctaw Nation and may be seen riding alongside the Cherokee Nation, the Mvskoke Creek Nation, and the Cheyenne-Arapaho Cycling groups in the fight against diabetes. Team Choctaw also hosts the Pink Pearl Luncheon and the weeklong Paint the Town Pink in Talihina.
Team Choctaw welcomes all who desire to ride. Upcoming ride information is available for a tri-state area on the Choctaw Nation Cycling/Team Choctaw Facebook page.
Biskinik June 2019