Seri

Introduction

The Seris are an indigenous group of the Mexican state of Sonora. The majority reside on the Seri communal property (Spanish, ejido), in the towns of Punta Chueca (Seri Socaaix) and El Desemboque (Seri Haxöl Iihom) on the mainland coast of the Gulf of California. Tiburón Island (Tahejöc) and San Esteban Island (Cofteecöl 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. (Claims that it is from Opata or from Yaqui were nineteenth-century speculations based on similarity to words in those languages and not with clear evidence.) Their name for themselves is Comcaac.

Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Seri people

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