Living along the coast of the Gulf of California where the desert meets the sea, the Seri (Comca’ac) were a nomadic people numbering in the thousands when first encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century, migrating seasonally between the Río San Miguel in central Sonora to the coast and Isla Tiburón. Living in an inhospitable land, these traditional hunter/gatherers relied on the edible and useful plants of the Sonoran Desert, its wildlife and the bounty of the sea to survive where others could not.
Resistant to early Spanish attempts to bring them into the mission system, and later impacted by the forced assimilation/extermination polices of the Mexican government, by the beginning of the 20th century the remaining Seri (about 300 in 1930) had consolidated along the coastline, retreating into the remote mangroves and canyons of Isla Tiburón when threatened.
With Tiburón now an ecological preserve, the majority of Seri today reside on communal lands between the small fishing villages of Punta Chueca and El Desemboque. Still somewhat isolated, despite the development of Kino Bay by the tourism industry, they work as fishermen and craftspeople, noted for their stone and ironwood carvings and distinctive baskets made of limberbush.
Travel with Tohono Chul and Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists this fall to explore the world of the little-known Seri. Our guides are cultural historian Jesús García and geologist Bob Scarborough, enthusiastically sharing with us the lifeways of this desert people, as well as the natural and geological history of the Central Gulf Coast subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. Our host is Stephen Bernier of South of the Border Tours.
Traveling by motorcoach from Tucson, our voyage of discovery includes the Seri Museum in Nuevo Bahía Kino, a panga ride to the mangroves of Isla Tiburón, birding the estuary of Laguna de la Cruz, an optional visit to Isla Alcatraz, a walk in a cardón forest, and of course, meetings with the Seri people themselves. Our adventure also includes time on the beaches of Kino Bay with its intensely blue water, daily helpings of fresh seafood and opportunities to support the Seri with purchases of their handcrafts.
Cost of this all inclusive travel ed-venture includes motorcoach transportation, accommodations, activities and guide services and all meals.