What started as truly just a reconciliation around the mound issue has grown into a desire to develop a corridor between Cowee Mound and Nikwasi Mound — and then all the way into the town of Cherokee. Once [Franklin and Cherokee] became reconciled and cohesive as a group, they could see the potential for both communities to have economic growth around that corridor.


—Sharon Fouts Taylor

Cultural Corridor

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Part of Nikwasi Initiative's mission is to develop a Cherokee Cultural Corridor along more than 60 miles of the Little Tennessee River, from Cherokee to Franklin and the headwaters of the river.


Along this corridor, visitors will find cultural interpretation and information resources on-site that improve the visibility of important Cherokee landmarks and historic sites. The first piece of this important project was unveiled in 2018: a cultural information kiosk that overlooks Cowee Mound, the site of what once was the center of the ancient Cherokee town Cowee. 


Nikwasi Initiative intends to place a similar cultural kiosk at Nikwasi Mound in downtown Franklin. 

Signage along the Cultural Corridor is written in both English and in the Cherokee syllabary — and gives visitors a sense of the rich, vibrant and complex culture that has existed for hundreds of years in Western North Carolina's mountains. 

Click map to enlarge

Above: A drawing of Cherokee representatives by artist Marksman following the April 3, 1730 Nikwasi council house meeting between Cherokee leaders and Scotsman Sir Alexander Cuming. 

Below: Antique postcard depicting Nikwasi Mound in Franklin, North Carolina. 


The Nikwasi Initiative, a collaboration of the EBCI and neighboring communities, is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the sense of place of the Nikwasi Mound and expanding the understanding of the mound and the surrounding region through improved access, interpretation and educational activities.  

Using engaged partnerships, it focuses on developing cultural interpretation resources for the nationally significant Cultural Corridor from Cherokee to Franklin and to the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River, and encouraging sustainable economic growth of the entire corridor area.

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