By Scott Grooms
This week’s spotlight is on Dr. John Creel. You may know Dr. Creel as the owner of Walterboro Adult and Pediatric Medicine, but he is also the Chief of the Edisto Natchez Cuso Tribe, he has a free clinic in Ridgeville and is the paster of Little Rock Holiness Church.
Dr. Creel was born and raised in Colleton County. He attended Cottageville Elementary School, from first through the eighth grade and then high school at Walterboro High. He was in the first class to go four years at the new high school.
Dr. Creel is the Chief of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe of South Carolina. The Kusso tribe dated back to 1670 Charleston, all the way up to Albemarle point between highway 17 and highway 61. In the mid early 1700s, the Natchez part of the tribe came to the four whole swamp area from Natchez, Mississippi. The tribe adopted the name Edisto in the ‘70s, because everybody called them the Edisto Indians. Creel comments they did genealogical research and found that Indian Mary has blood and our tribe, who is a true Edisto. This makes them, truly Edisto Natchez-Kusso tribe of South Carolina because they have an amalgamated tribe, mostly Eastern or Coastal Tribes.
The tribe does an annual powwow the third week of April for different Native American craftsmen and cultures come together and dance and drum etc. The event is open to the public, there is a drum competition, dance competition, arts and crafts and food. Last year the pow wow partnered with Dorchester Heritage Center, which Creel is on the Board of Trustees. The pow wow was a success and the money to help build homes or repair homes of the elders and disabled in the community and also supplement a senior feeding program.
The Lakota Tribe host the South Dakota Youth Camp. My wife and I started supporting it financially in 2007, we were able to go there in 2008. I was in the Church of God, but I wasn’t licensed to the Church of God. They called and asked if our church would come and run the camp and be the coordinator. so, for about 13 years, we’ve been the director for the South Dakota youth camp, and we just last year started doing camp meeting.” They go in May, June, July, and have a camp meeting in September.
“I volunteered at a free Clinic with Dr. Baggett of Dorchester Family Medicine, When I finished residency at McLeod and came back to the community, he said ‘it’s yours’ and gave me the keys.” The tribe owned the building was built for the community and was not open to the public. He convinced the tribal elders to open it up to the public’s make it more self-sufficient and made it a nonprofit. They joined the state and national free clinic Association and have won the gold standard awards for the last four years.
The clinic is open to anybody with no insurance, underinsured or high deductibles that need help.” They can come and we do free colonoscopies, and they are connected with the best chance network for breast cancer screenings. If you get diagnosed with cancer, we have programs that we connect with Roper and MUSC so that you can get funded for treatment.”
Dr. Creel has been pastoring for 28 years. He filled in at Little Rock Holiness Church when Pastor Jimmy Martin passed away, “I told them that I’d fill in until they found a pastor. Eight months later they asked if I would become pastor and I got voted in as pastor, that was 28 years ago.
Dr. Creel is married to Charlene and have three children; John Charles Creel, (JC), Caleb Lee Creel, and their Little Rock Holiness Church daughter Rose.
For more information visit https://edistoindianfreeclinic.com, https://www.facebook.com/natchezkussotribe/, https://littlerockholinesschurch.com/index.html