Cherokee Calls for Return of Sacred Mound
Cherokee leaders say the Town of Franklin is not properly caring for one its sacred mounds. Now they want the deed to the land back.
They passed a resolution Thursday saying Franklin has shown "significant lack of respect for the Nikwasi Mound." Chief Michell Hicks says it's full of weeds of bare spots.
"Their responsibility to the tribe needs to be held at a higher level," he says.
A long respected member of the tribe says the mound needs more respect. "There are people...the ancestors that are around that mound...that we communicate with," says Myrtle Driver.
But Franklin leaders say they've have been good stewards and calls to the tribe to work out a partnership have gone unanswered.
"We've made phone calls that were never returned," says Mayor Bob Scott.
He says the resolution comes as a complete surprise, adding the people of Franklin love the mound as well.
"And the mound would not even be here had it not been for the Town of Franklin and the children of Franklin in 1946 saving it."
Franklin Town Manager Summer Woodard says the town hired professional landscapers to help improve the mound, and says the wording in Cherokee's resolution is disheartening.
She says, "We have a heritage and a stake in this too. And we want the community dialogue to be open. But this resolution doesn't demonstrate an open dialogue."
Since Franklin owns the property, any sale of the mound back to the tribe would require approval by Franklin's Board of Alderman. The board will discuss the issue at its next meeting September 15th.
By Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS