Birch bark texture.

Ahtna Kanas Winter 2023

Nathaniel (Saaduuts) Mitchell Receives AFN Military Service Award

We are proud to announce that Ahtna shareholder Nathaniel (Saaduuts) Mitchell was awarded the Gin’tith (Richard Frank) Military Service award at the 2022 Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention. The award is bestowed upon an Alaska Native who demonstrates a strong commitment and willingness to serve in the U. S. Armed Forces in the defense of the United States of America.

Nathan has served our country in the U.S. Navy for 24 years and is currently a Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL). Nathan joined the Navy in 1997 and volunteered in boot camp for Naval Special Warfare. After completing boot camp, he received orders to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training (BUD/S). Six months later he graduated with class 220 and received orders to SEAL Team 3. After two deployments with SEAL Team 3, Nathan volunteered again. He was assigned to a unit where he spent the majority of his time training and deploying to various locations – 14 scheduled deployments in total.

Nathan is Yahkw ‘Láanaas (Raven/Shark) Clan and his Haida name is Saaduuts. He was born in Anchorage and his family is from Hydaburg, Klawock, and Chistochina. He is the son of Sandra Demmert (Haida/Tlingit) and Kenneth Johnson (Ahtna) and grandson of Frances and Franklin Demmert, and Irene Johnson. His sister is Barbara Blake (‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak) and he has three children.

Nathan graduated from Chugiak High School, where he placed in statewide and national level cross-country skiing. He is an avid practitioner of his Haida, Tlingit, and Ahtna culture. Nathan has a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Charleston and is in his final year for a master’s degree in Business Administration from the College of William & Mary.

Nathan’s impressive list of awards and commendations includes:

  • Silver Star
  • 4x Bronze Star with Valor
  • 2x Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • 5x Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor
  • Navy Commendation Medal with Valor
  • 2x Navy Achievement Medal
  • 3x Combat Action Ribbon
  • 5x Presidential Unit Citation (unit award)
  • 2x Joint Meritorious Unit Award
  • Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • 6x Navy Good Conduct Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 4x campaign stars
  • Iraq Campaign Medal with 2x campaign stars
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with 13 stars
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Medal
  • Expert Rifle Navy Marksmanship Medal
  • Expert Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal

Please join us in congratulating Nathan on this honor and extending our gratitude for your exemplary and selfless service!

“Don’t give up. Your ancestor’s strength will guide you through any difficulty.”

– Nathaniel (Saaduuts) Mitchell