Mountain Partners Unveils First Look At Cultural Corridor Worth Over $28 Million

By Lilly Knoepp, Blue Ridge Public Radio

The first piece of a project connecting historical sites of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee is complete. When the full project is finished, a cultural corridor will run over 60 miles along the Little Tennessee River from Rabun County in Georgia to the town of Cherokee on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. The effort has been a long time coming.


The Cowee Valley in present day Macon County is the heart of the ancient Cherokee people.  It’s also home to start of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. The name Cowee in Cherokee is “Kawiyi,” which means “Deer Town."


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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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