Seri - Orientation

Identification. The name "Seri" is of unknown origin and meaning. It was first applied as "Heri" in 1645. The Seri call themselves "Comcaac" (the people).

Location. In aboriginal times the Seri lived along a 208kilometer strip of the central Sonoran coast between about 28° and 30° N, and on adjacent Tiburón and San Esteban islands in the Gulf of California. This region is one of the hottest and most arid portions of North America. At present, the Seri reside in two villages, El Desemboque de Los Seris and Punta Chueca.

Linguistic Affiliation. Serian is a Hokan language. Only one dialect is still spoken, but two other mutually intelligible dialects are recalled. They are considered isolates.

Demography. Population estimates for the early historic period vary from around 1,000 to 4,000. Severe population decline began with the onset of full-scale war with the Spaniards in 1750. Of some 500 Seri remaining in 1855, about one-half were killed in the next dozen years. By the 1930s Seri numbers had dropped to about 175. Since then, the population has rebounded, reaching 516 in 1990 and over 700 in 1994.

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