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 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.

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