Seri now face the inevitable march of development

Seri now face the inevitable march of development

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John Ahni Schertow
June 28, 2007
 

Living on their Traditional lands along the Coast of the State of Sonora, Mexico — the Seri are one of the few People who have managed to remain fundamentally separate of Mexican society. But there’s a plan in the works now to carry forward a tourist development being likened to Cancun and Acapulco. Maybe it will encroach on Seri land, maybe it won’t.

What do the Seri have to say about it? “One recent afternoon, an SUV full of non-Seris rolled toward Punta Chueca. Three young boys waited at the entrance. When they saw the vehicle, they launched a hail of rocks.”

From the Washington Post – The tribe’s two villages — Punta Chueca and Desemboque — lie directly in the path of the largest Mexican tourist development in a quarter-century. Under a still-evolving plan, hotels and condominiums will sprout along the coastline in much the same way that another generation of Mexicans transformed Cancun and Acapulco from sleepy outposts to resort havens. Change seems inevitable here, whether the development pierces the Seri’s land or merely spreads up to its borders.

The Seri hold dominion over more than 450 square miles of heavenly coastline, where for centuries they have scooped crabs, prowled the desert for medicinal plants and fought to keep away outsiders. They once lived nomadically, moving between fishing encampments on the mainland and their main settlement on Isla Tiburon, Mexico’s largest island, which is separated from Punta Chueca by a narrow but treacherous waterway known as Little Hell Channel.

In the 1960s, the Mexican government declared Isla Tiburon a nature preserve and forced the Seri off the island, resettling the tribe in squat cinder-block homes in Punta Chueca and Desemboque. The tribe, which now numbers less than 1,000, lives in harsh desert conditions (read the full story)

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