Presentation Title

One Word Sawalmem

Panel Title

Movie Screening with Q&A

Presenter Bio

Michael “Pom” Preston (Winnemem Wintu), Cultural Preservation Officer, Indigenous and Eco-Activist and Community Leader, Director

Michael “Pom” Preston is a member of the Winnemem Wintu tribe and is the son of current Winnemem tribal chief Caleen Sisk. He has been dancing in the Winnemem way since he was 4 years old and grew up going to his sacred places. He continues to protect his sacred sites along the McCloud River which have been under threat of inundation from the Shasta Dam raise effort by the US Bureau of Reclamation.  One of the ways he is helping to protect his river is through the Run4salmon, which is a 300 mile prayer run from the San Francisco Bay to the headwaters of the McCloud River. In this prayer journey they make prayers at specific points along the 300 miles of water ways for the return of the Chinook salmon, the health of the water and lands, as well as raise awareness about  the Shasta dam raise and the bay delta tunnel’s threats to salmon and the overall water’s health.

Michael is the co-director of the documentary Sawalmem, meaning sacred water, in which he shares his story of personal transformation related to a single untranslatable word from his language — a word offered to humanity as medicine to heal our relationship with the Earth.  


Natasha Deganello Giraudie, Creative Director and Founder of Micro-Documentaries

Natasha Deganello Giraudie is the Creative Director and Founder of Micro-Documentaries. Natasha founded Micro-Documentaries with a vision to make compelling cinematic filmmaking accessible to all social innovators. The resulting short films, solution trailers of sorts, have helped nonprofits and purposeful businesses in more than 30 countries advance their missions, raise funds, advance legislation and increase though leadership. Natasha regularly writes and teaches on topics related to storytelling, social innovation, and short documentary film production, and distribution for purposeful businesses and nonprofits. Natasha combines her passion for film with a lifelong commitment to the nonprofit sector. She has worked as a field and board volunteer with nonprofits in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the U.S. since she was a teenager. She co-chairs the Advisory Board of the Dalai Lama Fellows and serves on the Advisory Boards of Tools for Peace and the Biomimicry Institute. Natasha lives in the Bay Area with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys paddleboarding with sea lions and discovering the joys of the violin.

Presentation Description

One Word Sawalmem is a project that uses film and media content co-created by young native people, strategic partnerships and education initiatives to empower the youth climate movement with ancestral insight and inspiration. Natasha Deganello Giraudi and Michael "Pom" Preston, of the Winnmem Wintu tribe, co-direct the film in which he shares his story of personal transformation related to a single untranslatable word from his language — a word offered to humanity as medicine to heal our relationship with the Earth. Sawalmem, "sacred water," is how the Winnemem Wintu tribe has always been in relationship with water. Coming from Northern California, where water is abundant, the tribe decided it was time to share the meaning of Sawalmem to help change the misconception of water as "resource" to water as sacred life giver.

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Mar 18th, 6:30 PM Mar 18th, 8:00 PM

One Word Sawalmem

One Word Sawalmem is a project that uses film and media content co-created by young native people, strategic partnerships and education initiatives to empower the youth climate movement with ancestral insight and inspiration. Natasha Deganello Giraudi and Michael "Pom" Preston, of the Winnmem Wintu tribe, co-direct the film in which he shares his story of personal transformation related to a single untranslatable word from his language — a word offered to humanity as medicine to heal our relationship with the Earth. Sawalmem, "sacred water," is how the Winnemem Wintu tribe has always been in relationship with water. Coming from Northern California, where water is abundant, the tribe decided it was time to share the meaning of Sawalmem to help change the misconception of water as "resource" to water as sacred life giver.

https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/religionecologysummit/2021/Thursday/5