Michael Preston: Helping Sacred Water Heal People, Land, Spirits and Salmon

By Hanh Truong
February 25, 2021

In 2018, when Michael Preston met filmmaker Natasha Giraudie at a conference in Point Reyes National Park, she asked him to reveal one word from his ancestral language that changed his life — a word he wants to share with humanity to influence their consciousness. Preston knew immediately what that word would be. “Sawalmem,” he said.

Sawalmem means sacred water. The Winnemem Wintu tribe believes that adopting the worldview of caring for sacred water can mend people’s relationship with Earth. “Sacred water exists within ourselves and that is our connection to everything else that also has water inside of it,” Preston said. “If you don’t regard water as sacred, you don’t regard yourself as sacred.”

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