Salud Comcaac programs foster community and ecological health in partnership with the Comcaac Nation of Sonora, Mexico. Salud Comcaac is grounded in the indigenous knowledge and culture of the Comcaac community, derived from thousands of years of survival in the arid desert and sea environment of the Gulf of California.
The Seris Indians, also known as the Comcaac, are an endangered people living in coastal desert and mountain habitat along the coast of the Gulf of California in the border state of Sonora, Mexico. This indigenous fishing and desert foraging culture includes 1,500 people living in only two flood-prone coastal villages, Desemboque and Punta Chueca.
The project was initiated in 2020 by Senior Fellow Dr. Laura Monti- a long time friend of the Comcaac- with young Comcaac health promoters to build an effective integrative health response to Covid-19 that includes both traditional and Western medicine approaches to healthcare. Thanks to the support of many friends of the Comcaac, the Salud Comcaac Community Health program is addressing the need for a strong intercultural community health team supported by with adequate clinic infrastructure.
The pandemic unmasked additional underlying vulnerabilities that debilitate the Comcaac and other coastal indigenous communities throughout the world. The food, water and energy insecurity that manifested during the pandemic is exacerbated by climate change. Accelerating storms, hurricanes and sea level rise threaten the coastal habitat, marine species, and also the homes and livelihoods of the Comcaac community.
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Our current initiatives: Community Health, Coastal Restoration and Sea Turtle Conservation, and Food, Energy and Water Security, grow from over 25 years of collaborations with the Comcaac Nation and draw from the expertise of Sonoran Desert practitioners, researchers and institutions from Mexico and the U.S.
Our partnership with the Comcaac community is rooted in the understanding that the desert and sea environment and the indigenous communities that dwell within them are interdependent. We work to protect and strengthen both.