One Word Sawalmem
What is one word from your ancestral language which changed your life and which you can offer to humanity as medicine to heal our relationship with the Earth? It’s this question that One Word Sawalmem, the internationally-acclaimed short film, explores. Watch this intimate, expansive, award-winning film before hearing from directors Michael 'Pom' Preston and Natasha Deganello Giraudie. They will explore their experience in making the film, and discuss major themes within their work, including how storytelling is at the core of overcoming invisibility, how a deep relationship to nature can align with our wellbeing; and the role that decolonization played in the process of this film. This is a work—and an event—which asks the big questions and, ultimately, helps us to better live in balance with the natural world.
One word ripples outward, vibrating with healing power: Sawalmem, meaning “sacred water.” For Winnemem Wintu young man Michael “Pom” Preston, Sawalmem represents a vital vision for healing the world and for healing from the legacy of the Shasta Dam that, since the 1940s, has harmed salmon and the Sacramento River and the Winnemem Wintu people of Shasta Mountain, California. Violating state law and posing a risk to Northern California’s water supply and the Winnemem Wintu people, a Shasta Dam raise is being fast-tracked by the Trump administration. Michael’s mother, Chief Caleen Sisk, speaks out and organizes Run4Salmon, an annual 300-mile prayerful journey. Michael dances in tribal ceremonies to stay strong in this latest battle as a warrior for Sawalmem. The spiritual is political.