Comcaac Nation in Sonora renews historic march a year after making demands for water

By Kendal Blust
Published: Monday, April 11, 2022 - 5:05am

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women walking in desert
Kendal Blust/KJZZ
A group walks through the desert from Punta Chueca toward Saaps, where the Comcaac Nation held a historic gathering to demand water on March 27, 2021. Thousands of acres of land and sea belong to the tribe.

An Indigenous nation in neighboring Sonora held a historic gathering last year to demand water for their communities on the Sea of Cortez. Now, they’re meeting again. This time in honor of their ancestors.

Members of the Comcaac Nation walked dozens of miles from their two villages to a historic meeting site called Saaps this weekend.

The gathering comes a year after a similar march that was meant to draw attention to the tribe’s long-standing struggle for access to potable water.

But while water remains an issue for the nation, organizers say this year their gathering is focused on celebrating the traditions of their elders.

Lourdes Karelia Perales Hoeffer, a Comcaac cultural promoter, said young members of the tribe hope to make the march, known as the Caminata Comcaac, an annual tradition to honor the nomadic ways of their ancestors and preserve their songs and stories for future generations.

She calls the walks, or caminatas, part of their culture’s long history of survival in the Sonoran Desert.

woman walking
Kendal Blust/KJZZ News
A woman walks from Punta Chueca toward Saaps during the Caminata Comcaac on March 27, 2021, where the Comcaac Nation demanded the government take action to address a long-standing water shortage.

Adolfo Burgos
Kendal Blust/KJZZ
Adolfo Burgos sings in Cmiique iitom, the Comcaac language, on March 27, 2021.
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