Sacred mound was taken by NC settlers. Cherokee just regained control 200 years later

By Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer

After months of bitter debate that resulted in a lawsuit, the town council of Franklin, North Carolina, voted this week to transfer ownership of an ancient mound to a nonprofit partially controlled by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The Nikwasi Mound is believed to have been built 1,000 years ago by ancestors of the tribe, which lost control of the site to settlers in 1819, according to the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The mound sits today at the center of Franklin, surrounded by development.

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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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