Cherokee Nation Honors Veterans With Medals


The Cherokee Nation during it’s April meeting recognized and honored two Cherokee Nation citizens with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism for their United States military service.

Elmer Scullawl, 89, of Bartlesville, was born on December 15, 1925, near Ochelata to Maggie and Richard Scullawl. The seaman graduated from Ochelata High School in 1944 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, attending boot camp at Camp Wallace, Texas, prior to being assigned to the USS St. Louis. During his service, the Cherokee citizen was involved in a number of air attacks near the Philippines, and was wounded when Kamikaze pilots flew into the ship he was on. Scullawl was awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Unit Citation.

“I’m glad I’m still here,” Scullawl said upon receiving the medal from Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Back in 1945 when we were getting ready to make the attack on Japan, we had been guaranteed that we weren’t coming home, but we did. I think I’m about the last one on that ship that’s left. Thank you for this honor.”

Durbin Feeling, 67, of Tahlequah was born April 2, 1946, near Locust Grove to Jeff and Elizabeth Feeling. Spc. Feeling graduated from Chilocco Indian School in 1964, where he was an active member in football and marching band. Feeling attended Bacone College where he received his associate’s degree before being drafted into the Army in August 1967 and trained at Fort Polk, Louisiana. While in the Army, Feeling served as a door gunner with the 195th Assault Helicopter Company during Vietnam and was honorably discharged in 1970. The Cherokee citizen received the Vietnam Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and more. Upon his return home, he received his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University and studied linguistics at the University of California, Irvine. Feeling received an honorary doctorate form Ohio State University for his work in linguistics in 2004. The war veteran currently works as a translation specialist for the Cherokee Nation and where he wrote the Cherokee dictionary.

“Chief Baker, Deputy Chief Crittenden, Tribal Council and everybody that has had a part in the nomination of my award, I thank you very much,” Feeling said. “Lastly, I want to salute the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice: the heroes and their families.”

Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden presented both veterans with their medals and a plaque at the meeting.

To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-453-5541 or 800-256-0671, ext. 5541.

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