Roberto Herrera Marcos


photo: Roberto Herrera



Roberto Herrera was born at Pozo Coyote, Sonora, in 1916, the son of Antonio Herrera and María Marcos. When he was a young child, his mother died and his father remarried. At that time Roberto Thomson Encinas of Hermosillo, a good Mexican friend of the Seris, baptized him, and for many years Roberto Herrera was known as Roberto Thomson. Among his own people he was known as Cmique Roberto, "Seri Roberto". He eventually chose to use his father's last name, Herrera.

In 1941 Herrera was an interpreter for Gwyneth Harrington, who was an early collector of Seri artifacts. He was respected by his fellow tribal members, and served them in many capacities. He was instrumental in the reactivation of the fishing cooperative (1958-1959). He was for many years the highest elected or appointed official of the Seris in various capacities.


photo: Herrera and Moser


Herrera was extremely knowledgeable about the history, traditions, and language of the Seri people. In 1952 he began to work closely with linguist Edward Moser. The basis for most of the linguistic and cultural information that is found in recent published work is directly attributable to his patient explanations. The Seri-Spanish dictionary and the New Testament in Seri (1982) are two major works in which he played a key role. Two of his folk stories (How Rabbit fooled Coyote and Puma and the Rabbits) are included on this website.

He died October 16, 1988 at his home in El Desemboque, Sonora.

--Mary B. Moser, Stephen A. Marlett