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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.  

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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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© 2019 Nikwasi Initiative

Nikwasi Mound

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, rises up from downtown Franklin.

Cultural Corridor

A collaborative effort by Nikwasi Initiative, Mainspring Conservation Trust and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians that aims to preserve, protect and promote important Cherokee cultural landmarks and historic sites along the Little Tennessee River.

Our Projects

Cowee Mound

Upriver from Nikwasi, along the banks of the Little Tennessee River in Macon County, the town of Cowee was once a thriving Cherokee community, spanning more than a mile on both sides of the river. At its center was Cowee Mound, atop which Cowee's council house once sat.