Until the last few decades few people outside of Sonora, Mexico, knew that Seri Indians existed. Most non-lndians largely ignored them. Nearby ranchers mistrusted, feared, and fought them and foreigners seldom saw them. A few scholars have lived with the Seri for various lengths of time and studied the tribe. From them we know the little truth that has ever been written about these Indians.
The Seri, in recent times, have been a secluded group of expert fishermen. Today, they live in a fish bowl. They are tested, studied, painted, questioned, photographed, and written about, and they have almost no privacy. This focus of attention is due in large part to a new enterprise of woodcarving born in the last decade.
Almost every writer of sensational stories about the Seri refers to them as the "vanishing" Seri or the "last" of the Seri. They are not about to vanish and their numbers are increasing.
Since the 1950s the Seri standard of living has improved; their overall health is better and they are receiving more education. Suddenly, they have something to offer the twentieth century. At the same time, important aspects of their culture have already been lost and their blood is becoming diluted. Although some old problems are eliminated, new ones have presented themselves. The Seri are daily becoming more dependent upon a cash economy, the latest aspect of which could collapse as suddenly as it was born.
Whether this recent exposure to aliens will prove to be more beneficial than harmful to the Indians will be answered in their tomorrows.