Nikwasi was a Cherokee town situated in the heart of present-day Franklin, North Carolina. 

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

At the center of Nikwasi, on the banks of the Little Tennessee River, the town's meeting hall once towered over the landscape, built atop a manmade mound. Today, Nikwasi Mound, the settlement's only surviving landmark, can be found in downtown Franklin.

In May 2019, Franklin Town Council voted to deed the mound to Nikwasi Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the region's important cultural sites. 

With its new ownership of the mound, Nikwasi Initiative will preserve, protect and promote the important cultural and historic site — creating informational signage similar to its work at Cowee Mound

Nikwasi Mound


The Nikwasi Initiative, a collaboration including the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and neighboring communities, is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of people and places on the landscape that was traditionally the Cherokee homeland.

Using engaged partnerships, Nikwasi Initiative focuses on developing cultural resources for diverse projects from the nationally significant Cultural Corridor along the Little Tennessee River, to restoration of heritage apple species, and widespread cultural collaboration.

© 2020 Nikwasi Initiative