6. Seri Wood Santo Collected by William Neil Smith
Seri Wood Santo Collected by William Neil Smith
Collected around 1950
Length – 5 3/4″ Width – 2 1/16″
Santos when worn around the neck protected the wearer from illness. When tied to the doorway, it prevented illness, evil and death from entering the house.
From the collection of Anthropologist William Neil “Seri Bill” Smith, Jr. who was born in 1920 in New York City and moved to Tucson, Arizona at age fourteen. He attended the University of Arizona from 1939-42 and 1946-48, studying under Byron Cummings and Edward Spicer. From 1945-1967, Smith made many extended ethnographical field trips to Sonora, Mexico, to study the Seri Indians at Desemboque and Tiburon Island. His research included lifestyle, customs, language, genealogy, kinship, and cultural changes due to the influence of outsiders. Smith’s personal Seri Indian collection was assembled while doing his fieldwork. The collection consists of over 700 objects covering all aspects of Seri life. Most of the objects were collected from 1947-1951. University of Arizona Special collections holds 24 linear feet on Smith’s archives and photography. I bought the entire collection nearly 15 years ago and am now selling off some of items that I kept from the collection.