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Noquisiyi (later interpreted as Nikwasi) means star place and was a Cherokee town 

situated in present-day Franklin, North Carolina

Though its exact age remains unknown, Noquisiyi appears on maps as early as 1544, and British colonial records first mention it by name in 1718.


At the heart of Noquisyi on the banks of the Little Tennessee River, the town's meeting hall once towered over the landscape, built atop the mound which was formed by Cherokee women carrying baskets of soil to that location. Today, Noquisiyi Mound, the settlement's only surviving landmark, rises as the gateway to Franklin.

Cherokee Cultural Corridor

Cultural Corridor
Project Map

Noquisiyi Cultural District Plan

Nikwasi Initiative has spent the last several months working with Equinox to develop the Noquisiyi Cultural District. Together we have held Community forums, conducted surveys, and talked with key stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive plan. Click here to view the full report. 

Apple Trail Grand Opening & Dedication!

Friday April 28th, 4:00 PM

An Arbor Day Celebration of Apple Trees and Cherokee Farmers!

Parking for the grand opening of the Barbra McRae Cherokee Heritage apple Trail will be at the Big Bear Pavilion on the Little Tennessee River Greenway. From the parking area, you will walk upriver to the half-mile marker, the Apple Trail will be on the left. Transportation will be provided for those unable to walk the distance. 

Learn more about the trail here. 

View the full report here!

 Our Mission 


Nikwasi Initiative preserves, protects, and promotes culture and heritage in the original homelands of the Cherokee people.

Our Vision:

Intercultural understanding is universal!

In the News:


Mountain Xpress

February 25, 2022:

Nikwasi Initiative Efforts Selected for New Smithsonian Traveling Museum!

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