“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Franklin in Macon County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Nikwasi Mound

Cherokee Heritage Trails

Nikwasi Mound-Cherokee Heritage Trails image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe
1. Nikwasi Mound-Cherokee Heritage Trails
Inscription. You are standing on land that has been part of a town for about three thousand years. This mound was the spiritual, political, and physical center of the Cherokee town of Nikwasi. A council house or town house on top of the mound held the sacred fire, and everyone gathered there to hear news, make decisions, dance, and participate in ceremonies. Surrounding the mound were about one hundred houses, a field for playing stickball, and a dance ground, as well as hundreds of acres of crops, orchards, and gardens.

The Cherokee dominated the southern Appalachians for thousands of years. When Alexander Cuming visited Nikwasi in 1730, the Cherokees had men and women leaders in autonomous towns that functioned democratically. Cuming called a council here that was attended by more than two thousand representatives from Cherokee towns. Cuming chose an Emperor, and took a Cherokee delegation to London. In 1761 the British, former allies of the Cherokee, destroyed Nikwasi. After the Cherokees rebuilt, the Americans destroyed it in 1776. The Cherokees rebuilt again and lived here until this area was taken by the Treaty of 1819.

A Cherokee legend tells that spirit warriors came out of the mound to help defend the Cherokee against an attack when the Cherokee men were away hunting. The legend goes on to say that the spirit warriors
Nikwasi Marker with the mound in the background image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe
2. Nikwasi Marker with the mound in the background
also saved the town of Franklin from destruction during the Civil War.

The Nikwasi mound is one of the largest surviving mounds in the original Cherokee territory of 140,000 square miles. In 1946, the schoolchildren of Macon County saved their pennies and bought the mound through the Macon County Historical Society to save it from development. It is now owned by the Town of Franklin.
Erected 2008 by Cherokee Heritage Trails.
Location. 35° 11.09′ N, 83° 22.401′ W. Marker is in Franklin, North Carolina, in Macon County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street (Business U.S. 441) and Nikwasi Lane, on the left when traveling east on East Main Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Franklin NC 28734, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nikwasi (here, next to this marker); Battle of Echoe (approx. half a mile away); Macon County Confederate Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Dixie Hall (approx. half a mile away); Thomas's Legion (approx. half a mile away); Silas McDowell (approx. 5.4 miles away); Cherokee Victory (approx. 9.8 miles away); Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (approx. 10.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Franklin.
Categories. AnthropologyColonial EraMan-Made FeaturesNative Americans
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 304 times since then and 102 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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