are an indigenous group of the Mexican state
. The majority reside on the Seri communal property (Spanish, ejido
), in the towns of Punta Chueca
) and El Desemboque
(Seri Haxöl Iihom
) on the mainland coast of the Gulf of California
. Tiburón Island
) and San Esteban Island
and sometimes Hast
) were part of their traditional territory, but some Seris also lived in various places on the mainland. They were historically seminomadic hunter-gatherers who maintained an intimate relationship with both the sea and the land. It is one of the ethnic groups of Mexico that has most strongly maintained its language and culture during the years after contact with Spanish and Mexican cultures.
The Seri people are not related culturally or linguistically to other groups that have lived in the area, such as the Opata, Yaqui, O'odham, or Cochimí. The Seri language is distinct from all others in the region and is considered a linguistic isolate.
The name Seri is an exonym of uncertain origin. Their own name for themselves is Comcáac (IPA [koŋˈkɑːk]; singular: Cmiique [ˈkw̃ĩːkːɛ]).
The Seri were formerly divided into six bands. They were:
- Xiica hai iic coii ("those that are towards the wind"), who inhabited a large area to north of the other bands.
- Xiica xnaai iicp coii ("those that are to the south"), who inhabited the coast from Bahía Kino to Guaymas.
- Tahéjöc comcáac ("Tiburón Island people"), who inhabited the coasts of Tiburón Island, and the coast of Mexico opposite it, north of the xiica xnaai iicp coii.
- Heeno comcáac ("desert people"), who inhabited the central valley of Tiburón Island.
- Xnaamótat ("those that came from the south"), who inhabited a small strip between the xiica hai iic coii and the Tahéjöc comcáac.
- Xiica Hast ano coii ("those that are in San Esteban Island"), who inhabited San Esteban Island and the southern coast of Tiburón Island.
Three of the bands were further subdivided. Relations between bands were not always friendly, and internal fights sometimes occurred.
After the Seri population was greatly reduced by conflicts with the Mexican government and the O'odham, and epidemics of smallpox and measles, the remaining Seris grouped together and the band divisions were lost.
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- Bowen, Thomas (2001). Unknown Island: Seri Indians, Europeans, and San Esteban Island in the Gulf of California. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
- Davis, Edward H.; Dawson, E. Yale (1945). "The Savage Seris of Sonora—I". The Scientific Monthly 60 (3): 193–202.
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- Johnston, Bernice (1980). The Seri Indians of Sonora Mexico. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press.
- Felger, Richard; Mary Beck Moser (1973). "Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in the Gulf of California: Discovery of Its Nutritional Value by the Seri Indians". Science 181 (4097): 355–356.
- Felger, Richard; Mary B. Moser. (1985). People of the desert and sea: ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
- Ives, Ronald L. (1962). "The Legend of the “White Queen” of the Seri". Western Folklore 21 (3): 161–164.
- Marlett, Stephen A. (2006). Situaciones sociolingüísticas de lenguas amerindias. Lima: SIL International and Universidad Ricardo Palma.
- Moser, Edward W. (1963). "Seri Bands". The Kiva 28 (3): 14–27. (online Spanish version)
- Moser, Mary B.; Stephen A. Marlett (2005). Comcáac quih yaza quih hant ihíip hac: Diccionario seri-español-inglés. Hermosillo, Sonora: Universidad de Sonora and Plaza y Valdés Editores.
- McGee, W. J. (1896). "Expedition to Papagueria and Seriland: A Preliminary Note". American Anthropologist 9 (3): 93–98.
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- McGee, W. J. (1898). The Seri Indians: Seventeenth annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C.:
- Nabhan, Gary (2003). Singing the Turtles to Sea: The Comcáac (Seri) Art and Science of Reptiles. University of California Press.