Core Competencies for Spiritual Care-giving: Addressing Native American Wellbriety is a cross-cultural training course that addresses substance abuse in the Native American population.  It is based upon the 12 core competencies for spiritual Care-giving developed by SAMHSA, the U.S. government’s clearing house on alcohol and substance use, and incorporates research-based information about historical and cultural experiences of Native Americans that affect their drinking patterns and decisions about substance use.

Core Competencies for Spiritual Care-giving is designed to:

  1. Break down barriers between cultures, service providers, and community leaders and members
  2. Create awareness of community resources, networking opportunities, and strategies for enhancing and accessing community services
  3. Equip the faith community and other service providers with a general framework that provides the basic scope of knowledge, skills and strategies they need to administer effective alcohol intervention and prevention services to the indigenous population
  4. Enable clergy and other service providers to break through the wall of silence that surrounds alcohol and drug dependence
  5. Encourage religious leaders to become actively involved in efforts to combat substance abuse
  6. Train clergy and social service providers to work together to mitigate the damaging effects of substance abuse on Native American individuals and their families
  7. Develop culturally competent services that are appropriate for use with indigenous people

This training can be adapted to teach in a variety of educational settings such as seminaries, community colleges, and Indian Bible Schools.  It can be offered in the format of annual training conferences, two-day intensive training, home correspondence course, and structured to fit the needs of an organization seeking to enhance its cultural sensitivity and the quality of its patient care to indigenous populations.


For fifty years now I have provided spiritual guidance and deliverance throughout Indian Country.  Many of the best Native Pastors and Evangelists were birthed through the influence of my ministry.  Great as it is, I have always believed that there must be other ‘streams’ that would provide a more compact focus on the problem of alcohol and drugs, which are still rampant among our Native people.

I believe the Core Competencies for Spiritual Care-giving training is the key for meeting today’s needs among our Native people.  It is probably one of the best put together resources and approaches to recovering from substance abuse from the Native perspective.  I am glad to endorse and promote this among tribes, and I am willing to help groups everywhere, who like me, lack this kind of focused care-giving ability in our ministries.  Because of Shirley Frisbee, the future is looking brighter for our people.

Dr. Jay Swallow, Southern Cheyenne/Sioux
Minister to Native America
Co-founder of Two Rivers Native American Training Center