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.