Dr. John Creel named chief of Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe
by The Press and Standard | November 15, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 13, 2019 at 11:41 am
Rev. John Glenn Creel, M.D., FAAFP, was elected chief of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe of South Carolina during general elections of the Tribal Council on November 9 at the headquarters of The Four Holes Indian Organization, 1125 Ridge Road, Ridgeville.
Creel has been a member of the tribal council since 1995. As chief, he follows in the footsteps of his father, Johnnie Creel, who was tribal chief in 1982-83. Creel is a minister at the Little Rock Holiness Church, Cottageville, and a medical doctor with the Walterboro Adult and Pediatric Medicine. He is also the director of the Edisto Indian Free Medical Clinic that rents space from the Tribal Council.
Donnie Creel Jr., a S.C. retired park ranger, was elected vice chief. He has been an active Tribal Council Member of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe of S.C. since 1992. He served as chairman of the board in 2009 and treasurer in 2011. Since 1992, he has been in charge of maintenance for the Tribal building and grounds. Creel carries the tribal flag during grand entry at annual Pow Wow ceremonies.
Re-elected to serve two-year terms were council members Sabrina Creel, Leon Creel, and Destinee Davis. The tribal council currently has nine members and four vacancies on the 13-member board.
Out-going Chief Andy Spell, who has served two four-year terms, will conduct the inauguration of the new chief in January. As the current chief, Spell has also served on the South Carolina Commission of Minority Affairs on the Native American Advisory Committee, The South Carolina Council of Chiefs, the South Carolina Indian Affairs Commission, and the South Carolina Indian Development Council. He has also served on the S.C. Commission of Indian Affairs as a petition reviewer for two years. Spell will continue serving on the Tribal Council.
“I’m always looking to improve the clinic and expand the available services,” Dr. Creel said. Originally founded by Dr. David Baggett of Dorchester Family Practice, Creel took over the medical clinic in 2002 at which time he established a separate non-profit board. The Medical Clinic is also a member of the National Affiliation of Free Clinics.
As chief, Creel plans to continuing working with the council to pursue federal recognition for the tribe. A letter of intent requesting recognition was filed in December 1976. A partial petition has been pending since 1983.
The Tribal Council has been working to rebuild The Robert Davidson Center as headquarters for tribal functions. Chief Andy Spell has coordinated this effort with the Dorchester County Council which is providing $150,000 toward the project. Funding is being sought to expand cultural classes and tribal educational programming in the community.
Other business of the council includes working to expand the senior feeding programs for tribal members living in both Colleton and Dorchester Counties.
“I’m interested in some kind of housing program to encourage people to return to the community,” Creel said.
The Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe of South Carolina was officially organized as a governing entity during desegregation in the 1960s. Official state recognition of the tribe was established in 2010. The Tribal Council has regular monthly meetings at the headquarters building in Ridgeville on the first Tuesday of each month.
In addition to working with The South Carolina Council of Indian Chiefs, the local tribe is also involved with other Native American tribes, the Lumbee’s in North Carolina and the Sioux in South Dakota.