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Seri Marketplace

Native Cultures - Seri

Saturday, June 15, 2024, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
at Tree of Life Nursery

To revive and preserve the memory of California’s simpler times, Tree of Life will again be hosting the Seri Indians who will be displaying and selling their artful wares on Saturday, June 15, 2024, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

 

The Seri, whose indigenous name is Comcáac, live on a remote stretch of the Sonoran coast along the eastern shores of the Gulf of California, adjacent to the largest gulf island, Isla Tiburón. They have inhabited these ancestral lands for centuries and encountered many of the same 16th-century explorers who ventured westward across the Gulf into “las Californias,” including Francisco Coronado and Padre Eusebio Kino. Amazingly, there are records, both prehistoric and historic, of the Seri also crossing the Sea of Cortez in their reed canoes (balsas) to visit the eastern shores of Baja California. 

 

The Comcáac language is known as an isolate, related to no other language in the world. The language is alive and well, and is today being taught in the schools. Most of the Seri are bilingual, speaking Cmiique iitom, as well as Spanish. Currently, the Seri comprise a community of around 1000 souls. Their homeland is known as a region “where the desert meets the sea.” Their intimate knowledge of both land and ocean is wonderful and unique.

The Seri are famous for their museum quality artwork; baskets, ironwood carvings, necklaces of shell and bone, and imaginative dolls. Their baskets are made from a single desert species, limberbush (Jatropha cuneata), the materials sourced, processed and woven by each artist.  Some large baskets can be many months in the making.

We have opened the Seri marketplace almost every year (missing a couple during the pandemic) for around fifteen years and we are fortunate to have them come again in 2024. With all the travel complications including obtaining cultural visas as indigenous artisans, their ride, their accommodations here, and their extraordinary effort to make the long journey, we never know which marketplace might be part of their last visit to Tree of Life.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a day of cultural exchange and to purchase some really fine indigenous art, while helping Tree of Life revive and preserve the memory of old California.

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