Gabriel Hofer, Grupo Tortuguero Comcáac

Fourth posting on mesquite, this from some research at 3 am reading People of the Desert and Sea by Richard Felger and Mary Beck Moser.  Abe Sanchez and I visited Seri basketweavers three summers ago in Desemboque, a village located on what environmental and political activist Winona LaDuke appropriately terms the “insultingly named Sea of Cortez,” and more aptly named the Comcáac Sea.

Traditional turtle harpoons used for sea turtle hunting were made of several pieces of a strong and flexible wood, often mesquite root. The pieces were joined with mesquite root cord.

Turtles have been a sacred and central part of Seri culture for centuries, but sea turtle populations are now endangered. Many young Seri such as Gabriel Hofer work with the non-profit organization Grupo Tortuguero Comcáac created by their elders to help save traditional knowledge about the turtles and to use that knowledge, along with technology and science, to help monitor and restore their sacred animals.

Groupo Tortuguero Comcáac

Armando Torres, Seri ironwood turtle carver

Armando Torres is a renowned ironwood carver. His beautiful swimming turtle bowls and sculptures are some of the most elegant, and they help celebrate the important relationship between Seris and their now endangered turtles. Ironwood, Olneya tesota, is one of the hardest of all woods to carve, and the ironwood trees themselves are now protected. The Ironwood Alliance was established to protect ironwood habitat and associated wildlife, and to protect the intellectual property rights of Seri artisans as well.

Posted by deborah small


  1. […] For more images and information about ironwood carvings, click here. […]



  2. xaaziim zipaspoj quiih 🙂



    1. luz alicia torres cubillas July 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      mi tio Armando Torres…mi maestro…cuanto lo extraño



  3. I very much appreciate your stories and photographs. There is a depth to the relationships you portray. Exploration is mandatory. Thank you.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s