Presentation Title

Connecting to Sacred Lands

Panel Title

Healing the Land and the People: Responding to Contemporary Challenges via Food Sovereignty, Coalition Building, and Indigenous Knowledge

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Presenter Bio

Michael “Pom” Preston

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 a documentary filmmaker interested in helping her audience deepen their relationship with nature - for their wellbeing and for the Earth’s. Her films have won a number of awards and have been screened in festivals around the world. She is also the host of Nature Practice Flow an online community of people interested in restoring their calm, clarity and joy outdoors – without moving to the forest or becoming a monk. Previously, she led nature-centered retreats and experiences for groups from the United Nations, the San Francisco Botanical Garden and One World Ayurveda in Bali. Natasha is a daughter of the Ceiba of the Caribbean, but has been lovingly adopted by the Redwoods of the Pacific.

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.

Join us for an online screening of One Word Sawalmem and Q&A on Thursday, March 18.

Link to Website(s)

Watch the Film: One Word Sawalmem

Run 4 Salmon

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Michael “Pom” Preston

Natasha Deganello Giraudie

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Mar 17th, 4:00 PM Mar 17th, 6:00 PM

Connecting to Sacred Lands

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.

Join us for an online screening of One Word Sawalmem and Q&A on Thursday, March 18.

https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/religionecologysummit/2021/Wednesday/4