News & Views

Release of Sea Turtle Marks New Year, and New Tradition, for Seri People

The Seri are a tribe of expert fishers and crafts people inhabiting parts of Sonora, Mexico, where the desert meets the sea. For centuries, the people have celebrated their New Year, on July 1st, with songs, dance, games and a feast of delicious Seri food. Traditionally, the Seri New Year’s feast has included caguama – sea turtle – a delicacy in the local diet.

This year, in Punta Chueca, Sonora, the Seri people opened their celebrations to the outside world, and many foreigners were able to witness their ancestral traditions. According to a Seri creation myth, after the Great Flood the sea turtle went to the bottom of the water and brought up earth to restore the land. This year, in deference to a species that has been important to their culture for centuries, but which is now struggling to survive, Seri women released a sea turtle into the Gulf of California, marking an important shift in the New Year’s tradition, and a step forward for sea turtle conservation.