Comcaac (Seri) holder of traditions passes to Spirit World
By Brenda Norrell
|Seri land on coast|
DESEMBOQUE, Sonora, Mexico -- Amalia Astorga, Comcaac (Seri) and upholder of traditions, passed to the Spirit World after a long life of living and sharing Comcaac culture and traditions on Seri land, on the coast in Sonora, in northwest Mexico.
Alejandro Aguilar Zeleny, a longtime friend of Amalia in Sonora, said, "Amalia passed away with Odile, that big storm, or cyclone. It is sad because the roads were closed. So she didn't have any doctor first and then later they could not bring a judge to provide a certificate of her death to bury her. So it was also sad and difficult."
"Adolfo is very sad and saying he is not going to sing anymore in any fiesta because she use to dance with his singing. Some days ago also passed away Cleotilde Morales. Her husband Alfredo passed away in May."
Amalia Astorga is an internationally-renown herbalist of Seri and O'odham Indian descent. She and her husband, Adolfo Burgos, taught traditional songs and dances to the Seri children in Desemboque. In 1998, she was honored as a "Keeper of the Desert Treasure" by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for passing on to younger generations the herbal knowledge, as well as the songs and stories of the Seri people. Her father, Jose Astorga, began the world famous Seri tradition of making carvings of native animals out of ironwood and stone. It is a craft tradition which she maintained.
Amalia's words and stories are featured in Efraín of the Sonoran Desert, A Lizard's Life Among the Seri Indians.