|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia. (March 2009)|
|Slightly below 1,000 (2006)
|Regions with significant populations|
traditionally animists, currently primarily Christian
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 (phonemically /kom'kɑːk/, phonetically [koŋˈkɑːk]); singular: Cmiique (phonemically /'kmiːkɛ/), phonetically [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.
- Tahejöc comcaac ("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 comcaac ("desert people"), who inhabited the central valley of Tiburón Island.
- Xnaamotat ("those that came from the south"), who inhabited a small strip between the xiica hai iic coii and the Tahejöc comcaac.
- 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.
- The autoethnonym of the Seri people, Comcaac, was first recorded by United States Boundary Commissioner John Russell Bartlett, who was in the area for a short visit in early 1852. The word was included in the list of approximately 180 words that Bartlett archived in the Bureau of American Ethnology (now part of the National Anthropological Archive, housed at the Smithsonian). He recorded the word as "komkak", which reflected the pronunciation of the word at that time (although he missed the vowel length and did not indicate stress). Other word lists, obtained by other people during the last half of the nineteenth century, confirm that pronunciation. The phonetic rule by which the consonant /m/ is pronounced as a velar nasal in this context (after an unstressed vowel and preceding a velar consonant) may not have come about until sometime in the early twentieth century or researchers may have encountered slow-speech deliberate pronunciations for which the assimilation was held in abeyance. The singular form, Cmiique, was first recorded by French explorer and philologist Alphonse Pinart in 1879. He recorded the word as "kmike", which must have reflected the pronunciation of the word at that time (although he also missed the vowel length). The phonetic rule by which the consonant /m/ is pronounced as a nasalized velar approximant in this context (after a velar stop) may not have come about until sometime in the mid twentieth century.
 In media
- A 1940 documentary film, part of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series (MGM), recorded scenes from the life of the Seri on Tiburon Island, under the title "Utopia of Death." It uses film from the Harold Austin expedition, claiming that this was the first motion picture footage of the tribe. http://ctva.biz/US/Documentary/PassingParade.htm
- The Seri Indians figure in the plot of the Louis L'Amour novel Catlow (1963), made into a (1971) movie by the same name starring Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna, and Leonard Nimoy.
- Marlett (2006).
- Ethnologue (2005).
- Marlett (2011).
- Marlett (2011).
- Marlett, Moreno & Herrera (2005).
- McGee 1898:96ff.
- Alphonse Pinart. 1879. [Vocabulary of the Seri]. Manuscript. Bureau of American Ethnology collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
- Bowen, Thomas (1983). "Seri". Handbook of North American Indians, William C. Sturtevant, general editor. Southwest. Alfonso Ortiz, volume editor. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: 230–249.
- Bowen, Thomas; Mary Beck Moser (1995). "Seri". Encyclopedia of world cultures, David Levinson, editor in chief. Middle America and the Caribbean. James W. Dow (volume editor) & Robert V. Kemper (associate volume editor). Boston: G. K. Hall.: 232–235.
- 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 (March 1945). "The Savage Seris of Sonora—I". The Scientific Monthly 60 (3): 193–202.
- Davis, Edward H.; Dawson, E. Yale (April 1945). "The Savage Seris of Sonora—II". The Scientific Monthly 60 (4): 261–268.
- Johnston, Bernice (1980) . The Seri Indians of Sonora Mexico. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press.
- Felger, Richard; Mary Beck Moser (July 1973). "Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in the Gulf of California: Discovery of Its Nutritional Value by the Seri Indians". Science 181 (4097): 355–356. doi:10.1126/science.181.4097.355. PMID 17832031.
- 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. (July 1962). "The Legend of the "White Queen" of the Seri". Western Folklore (Western States Folklore Society) 21 (3): 161–164. doi:10.2307/1496954. JSTOR 1496954.
- Marlett, Stephen A. (2011). "The Seris and the Comcaac: Sifting fact from fiction about the names and relationships". Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session #51: 1–20 .
- Marlett, Stephen A. (2006). "La situación sociolingüística de la lengua seri en 2006". Situaciones sociolingüísticas de lenguas amerindias. Lima: SIL International and Universidad Ricardo Palma.
- Marlett, Stephen A.; F. Xavier Moreno Herrera, Genaro G. Herrera Astorga (2005). "Illustrations of the IPA: Seri". Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (1): 117–121. doi:10.1017/S0025100305001933.
- 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 (PDF) (in Spanish and English). Hermosillo, Sonora: Universidad de Sonora and Plaza y Valdés Editores.
- McGee, W. J. (March 1896). "Expedition to Papagueria and Seriland: A Preliminary Note". American Anthropologist 9 (3): 93–98. doi:10.1525/aa.1896.9.3.02a00010.
- McGee, W. J. (April 1896). "Expedition to Seriland". Science 3 (66): 493–505. doi:10.1126/science.3.66.493. PMID 17751332.
- 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.
- Spicer, Edward H. (1962/1986). Cycles of Conquest . The Impact of Spain, Mexico and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533 - 1960 publisher: The University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Seri|
- Essay by Edward W. Moser, The Seris
- A study of Seri place names
- The Seri Indians of Sonora Mexico
- Lengamer site
- Bibliography of Seri language and culture