Cowee School seeks input for Cherokee Exhibit

by Aug 8, 2020General Announcements


The Cowee School Arts and Heritage Center is creating an exhibit for the Cherokee Room, to tell the story of Cherokee people at Cowee and in the Little Tennessee River Valley.  The school is seeking input from the public about the exhibit.

Stacy Guffey, Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center director, right, and Juanita Wilson, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, unveil information panels, part of a set of cultural kiosks, at Cowee Mound during an event at Cowee School on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 21, 2018. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

“This is a place for the Cherokees to tell their story,” said Stacy Guffey, director of the Center.  “And this story is part of who we are in Cowee, for the more than one hundred enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who live in Macon County as well as for the local families with Cherokee ancestry.”  

Cherokee people and their ancestors have lived in Macon County for more than 14,000 years, but were forced to give up their land here in the Treaty of 1819.  The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians purchased Cowee Mound in 2007 and the Hall Mountain tract next to it in 2010.  Their history and culture are an important part of the National Historic District at Cowee, along with African-American history at Snow Hill Church and Anglo-American settler history in the area.  

What would you like to learn about Cowee from the exhibit?  What questions do you have about the Cherokees at Cowee and in Macon County?  What artifacts should be included?  

“We get a lot of questions from visitors about daily life at Cowee before European contact,” said Guffy.  He notes that Cherokee and English language will be used in all materials, in order to help with revitalization efforts for Cherokee, which is an endangered language. 

In addition to welcoming ideas and input for the exhibit, Cowee School invites community members to consider loaning artifacts in private collections from the Cowee area. There is no law against picking up artifacts on private, county, or state land, and any collections would remain the property of the owners. 

Barbara R. Duncan, former education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, is coordinating plans for the exhibit, which has been funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.  She is coodinating input from the public, from scholars, and from the Cherokee community as well as conducting research. 

Share your input with the school by Tuesday, Aug. 25.  Send email to: Send comments by regular mail to Cowee School Arts and Heritage Center, 51 Cowee School Drive, Franklin NC 28734.  

The Cowee Arts and Heritage Center is a non-profit organization supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, Macon County, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, and donations from individuals.  Find out more at

– Cowee Arts and Heritage Center release