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Executive Director Position

Now Accepting Resumes

Nikwasi Initiative


 P.O. Box 2197

Franklin, NC 28744

Nikwasi Initiative

The Nikwasi Initiative (NI) is an innovative citizen’s collaboration between the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Macon County, Town of Franklin, and surrounding communities in western North Carolina.  Growing out of conflict and a successful reconciliation process in 2014, the Initiative provides an umbrella for building culturally competent regional leadership, protecting key Cherokee historic sites and landscapes, undertaking educational efforts at all levels, and encouraging place-based rural community economic development.  It is governed by a board with shared representation from the EBCI, Macon County, Mainspring Conservation Trust, and Town of Franklin.


The NI currently provides visioning, project management, partner and funding development in the 70-mile Cherokee Cultural Corridor stretching from Cherokee to the Georgia line.  Earlier this year the Initiative achieved one of its major initial milestones, the return of the ancient Nikwasi Mound after 150 years of non-tribal ownership.


This position is underwritten for two years by funding from the EBCI Tribal Council, as well as Macon County and the Town of Franklin, North Carolina.


About the Executive Director Position:

Full time with benefits. Working with the Board and other partners, the Director will have responsibility for developing, planning, overseeing and the full range of NI programs, commitments, and relationships.  The position will require fluency in working between native and non-native communities and governments.


Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Implement initial strategic and partnership planning

  • Identify and facilitate current and develop future collaborative regional projects

  • Build the resources and public presence of the Initiative within and outside our region

  • Grow the engagement of key regional citizen leaders, governments, and partner organizations

  • Cultivate relationships with grant funders and other public and private entities

  • Facilitate and guide the efforts of the Nikwasi Initiative Board and partners

  • Oversee and actively participate in fundraising to support core and partner budgets

  • Development of annual and project budgets; oversee financial reporting

  • Hiring, supervising and evaluating staff


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities/Competencies:
  • Bachelor’s required/ Master’s degree preferred

  • Skilled at networking and working with a wide variety of partners, including governments

  • Strong project management and supervisory skills

  • Grant writing

  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills, ideally including conflict resolution

  • Experience in working with native people in collaborative settings

  • Excellent administrative and problem-solving skills

  • Strong communication skills with a commitment to working collaboratively in support of partners

  • Ability to prioritize and juggle many tasks simultaneously

  • Technical skills and familiarity with social and digital media

  • Ability to take initiative, work efficiently and effectively

  • Work well independently and be self-motivated

  • Possession of a driver’s license and access to a vehicle

  • Submission of a background check

  • Some weekend and evening work as required


Preference will be given to those applicants with the following:
  • Development experience with foundations, governmental, or other grant-making entities

  • Experience and knowledge of Tribal and county governments and rural communities

  • Possession of Cherokee cultural knowledge

Salary Range:

Anticipated hiring range is commensurate with credentials and experience.

Deadline is December 31, 2019. 

Send cover letter, resume and contact information for three references to, subject line “Director Search”.

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