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 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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