Gaduniha “Where They Have the Soil For Growing Things”
“My family has always grown corn, ever since I was little. They used corn for skinned corn – hominy, for cornmeal, bean bread, popcorn for wintertime by the fire. We’d listen to the stories and pop some corn…”
– Marie Junaluska
The Cherokee Middle Towns stretched along the Little Tennessee River and its tributaries from its headwaters to its passage through the Smokies – towns every few miles, surrounded by fields and connected by trails and by the river. Today one can explore the world of the Middle Towns by driving scenic highways, or by using some of the same means of travel used by the Cherokees a thousand years ago – walking the banks of the Little Tennessee River, or canoeing on it. The main interpretive centers for the area of the original Cherokee Middle Towns can be found at the Scottish Tartans Museum on Main Street in Franklin. The Scottish Tartans Museum also tells the story of the relationship between the Cherokee and early Scots traders and Scots-Irish settlers.
But the spiritual center for this area lies at the Nikwasi Mound, near the Little Tennessee River, now downtown Franklin. This mound still stands at something near its original height, unlike most other mounds throughout Cherokee country, which have been farmed down to ground level, or bulldozed for development, or excavated and their contents removed. The center of the Nikwasi Village, a “white” (peace) town, this mound once supported a townhouse in which the sacred fire burned constantly.