1932: Mari Carmen Totoricaguena Egurrola Albizu, founder of Anaiak Danok and Biotzetik in Idaho, is born in Gernika. She also directed a chorus of Basque children for 20 years and organized the Aberri Eguna celebrations in Boise, Idaho. She immigrated to the United States in 1951.
Archive for the ‘Diaspora’ Category
1561: Lope de Aguirre, born in Onate, Gipuzkoa, and his men proclaim “Don Fernando, by the grace of God, prince of Peru, Tierra Firma and Chile,” intending to crown him king once they arrive in Peru. Fernando de Guzman is made general of the expedition — searching for Omagua and El Dorado — after Aguirre disposes of Pedro de Ursua, the original leader of the expedition. The document in which this is proclaimed is referred to as the First Act of Independence of America.
According to Aunamendi, it was Fernando de Guzman who was proclaimed Prince of Peru, but a number of English language sites, including Wikipedia, state it was Aguirre himself who was proclaimed Prince.
1972: Cristobal Balenciaga Eizagurrie, fashion designer born in Getaria, dies. Balenciaga became world-reknowned after he is forced by the Spanish Civil War to move to Paris, where among other achievements, he totally transformed the silhouette, broadening the shoulders and removing the waist.
From Joe Guerricabeitia of Seattle Euskal Etxea — I thought it worth sharing:
Kaixo danori (Hello everyone),
This email is being sent to you to serve as reminder to remember your heritage as you sit down to fill out your 2010 US Census. As in censuses past, this year’s census asks both about 1) Ethnicity and 2) Race. As has been the case in the past the US government convolutes “Spaniards” with “Hispanics” even though any History, Chicano Studies, or Spanish student (like myself) would tell you is technically incorrect. That being the case the ethnicity question specifically asks if one considers themself Hispanic but then allows for a selection of “Hispanic, other” which is a broad category that includes “Spaniards” and allows for a fill-in-the-blank where “Basque” can be written. Even for our brothers and sisters from across the border in France this seems like the best way to articulate being Basque (certainly not a perfect system). In fact this seems to be the only way. Race then refers to ones “social and cultural characteristics” which by the US census definition describes Basque ancestry as “White” (see below).
It is important to fill out the Census accurately and completely because it is the most database of information for demographics of age, sex, ethnicity, race etc that is drawn from every time in the next year that any US federal, state or local agency requires such data as well as many non-governmental agencies. As one Professor put it, “…an accurate count of the U.S. population forms the basis for many important but often overlooked political, economic, and social decisions that are made that end up affecting our daily lives.” – C.N. Le, Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst-from http://2010.census.gov/2010census/why/index.php Accessed 03/18/10
For more information on the 2010 Census check out:
The US Census Bureau
and for more information on definitions and the Census in general check out the Wiki page at:
- “White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as “White” or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.”
As many of you might already know, the Boise Basque Museum and Cultural Center, with help from the Basque Government, has been working on a project to highlight the Basques’ contributions to the history and settlement of the United States. I’ve received a number of recent messages updating me on the status of the project, which is that the exhibit is now on display at the Boise Basque Museum and will soon move to the Ellis Island National Monument Museum.
Entitled “Hidden in Plain Sight: the Basques“, the exhibit will be at Ellis Island from February to May. It will return to Boise for Jaialdi and will become a feature exhibit at the Basque Museum in Boise. In the words of the website, the exhibit explores the language, customs, traditions and values of the Basque people as well as the allure that America held for them. Hidden in Plain Sight will recount the compelling historical journey of the of Basque men, women and children who immigrated in the early 20th Century from the Basque regions of France and Spain to the United States.
The exhibit aims to both recognize and demonstrate the history of Basques throughout the United States. The Basques have played a large role in many areas, but their actions have often been in the background, hidden if you will. The exhibit hopes to show the greater populace the part the Basques have played in shaping the US.
If you are interested in contributing to the project, there is a form for doing so on the website.
A couple of links I’ve been sent or found in wanderings of the web.
First, Louis Arriaga Jr has a fascinating story of misunderstandings and miscarriage of justice (even one of the sentencing judges felt this way, but couldn’t do anything about it). Clearly, Arriaga is of Basque descent, though his connections to Spain are somewhat distant. He has a site devoted to his story, but a summary of it can be found in this Phoenix New Times article.
Mugalari means “someone who crosses boarders”, a reference to the smugglers who work across the French-Spanish border. Mugalari is also the name of a new blog, a blog devoted to showing you “other” aspects of the Basque Country, not necessarily those that would show up in a guide book. Mugalari has traveled himself extensively and this blog is his attempt to do for the Basque Country what would have been nice for him in other parts of the world.
And speaking of visiting the Basque Country, the region of Debagoiena, which includes the famous University of Onati as well as the shrine Arantzazu, has a website devoted to tourism in the area. This includes guides, photos, and information about hotels and more to help you in your visit to the heart of Gipuzkoa.
I ran into this next site just searching for Basque images on Google. It is amazing what you find sometimes. I’ve often been asked, especially by adherents of the Society for Creative Anachronism, what the Basque dress of the Middle Ages was. It’s hard to find much about that in English, though I guess I would think there is quite a bit in Spanish and Basque. In any case, this site has quite a few images devoted to the dress of Basques from that era. Some very interesting images.
Finally, the Basque Country, like the UK and other parts of Europe, was recently hit by some winter weather, and this blog of EiTB captures some of the resulting spectacular scenery, including this image of a snow-covered La Concha. The Basque Country looks very different in white than it does in the typical green we are more familiar with, though just as striking and beautiful.
Joe Guerricabeitia originally posted this on the Seattle Euskal Etxea website. I really enjoyed it and, with his permission, repost it here.
America is a nation of democracy. The Founding Fathers designed it so; Alexis de Tocqueville praised it. During the last half century America solidified this democracy such that every American man, woman and child was given the right to affect their lives through an equal right to vote. Still, for a nation which often touts its democratic roots as one if its hallmark characteristics, the idea of direct worker involvement in US corporate affairs is often branded as leftist, socialist and sometimes even categorically painted with the wide, red-brush of McCarthy’s communism.
Here in Washington state, where commercial aeronautics was born under the Boeing banner, some have argued that worker unions and their collective bargaining recently drove the big “B” to establish its second 787 Dreamliner production line in South Carolina, where amongst other things workers are not unionized.
This makes the increasing popularity of worker driven cooperative business models within the US, all the more interesting. Most notable has been the decision by the United Steel Workers Union to court and co-opt the Basque, worker-owned cooperative model of Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC). The United Steel Workers Union, is after all, North America’s largest industrial trade union.
Following an age of corporate outsourcing and off-shore manufacturing plants US workers have looked to the world to find a sustainable model for future US growth and have landed right in our Aitxitxe (grandfather) and Amuma’s (grandmother’s) backyard. The US Steel workers have looked at the example set by the Basques of Mondragon and decided that the very same could be done here, and why not?
As Americans we are a nation of do-it-yourselfers (DIY’ers). We live by, “if you want something done right, do-it-yourself.” We are a proud nation of entrepreneurs, so well known for our creativity and that which is often described as the American Spirit, that every year foreign nationals inundate us with applications for work, and study visas. This spirit, is ingrained in us and has driven the proliferation of big-box DIY chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot. As Americans we swap home and automotive repair tips like baking recipes with our friends.
As Basques we are hard-working, family-centric people. We know our neighbors. In Euskadi and throughout the diaspora we have earned a reputation of ingenuity, pioneering spirit and hard work, all traits that carried us into new worlds either by boat or by plane, wherever there was work and opportunity available. Always with us we brought our traditions, our language and often times our families.
Mondragon’s cooperative work model is simply one of the oldest traditions, repackaged: the baserria. Like the ever-disappearing baserritarra (traditional farmer from a baserria [farmhouse]) could tell you the baserria was and in some cases still is a modern day worker-owned cooperative. Often centralized around families this microcosm of sustainability, traditionally revolved around farming and ranching but newer generations have hybridized this tradition by allowing the older generations to continue to farm and ranch as their forefathers had done, while the youth have pursued greater educational opportunities and a chance to join Euskal Herria’s burgeoning manufacturing and business sectors.
The “baserriak” cooperative model is not “new” to the US, only new to US workers. The cooperative model has always been with Basques even in the diaspora in the form our Euskal Etxeak or Basque Centers, where the economy of currency has been swapped for heritage and tradition, sport and dance, language and culinary delights.
To our American brothers and sisters we say, “Ongi etorri!” or Welcome! May the cooperative model work as well in for Americans as it has done for so long with the Basques.
Garaipena, neke askoren ondorena “Success is the result of a lot of hard work.”
In Cleveland, Worker Coops Look to a Spanish Model By Judith D. Schwartz from Time.com; 12/22/09; Accessed 12/28/09
US Seeks Inspirtaion in Basque Cooperative Model By I. H. – E. S. from, eitb.com; Published 12/28/09; Accessed 12/28/09
‘One Worker, One Vote:’ US Steelworkers to Experiment with Factory Ownership, Mondragon Style By Carl Davidson from, SolidarityEconomy.net; Published 10/27/09; Accessed 11/25/09
About 6 years ago, Egunkaria, then the only daily newspaper published fully in Basque, was shut down on suspicions of ties to terrorists. Between then and now, no trials had occurred and it was thought that essentially the matter had been dropped. However, now, 6 years later, those who worked at Egunkaria are indeed being tried, including Martxelo Otamendi, the editor of the newspaper.
EgunkariaLibre is a site that has two purposes: to support those being put on trial as well as disseminate news about the happenings surrounding Egunkaria, it’s shut down, and the people who worked there.
These events have reached even those Basques living in the United States. This article in the Idaho Statesman describes how Otamendi previously visited the US to report on, other things, the Idaho legislature’s non-binding memorial supporting the Basque Country’s right for self-determination. He stayed with Dave Bieter, now the mayor of Boise.
This was the second such newspaper shut down by Spain. Before, Egin was also shut down. As was said by Paddy Woodworth in that article, author of The Basque Country: A Cultural History:
“I believe that if there are serious charges against a medium of communication, sufficient to justify the precautionary measure of closing it down, they should be heard within weeks, not years,” he said. “Otherwise the state is very open to charges of suppressing press freedom.”
Pedro Oiarzabal, a newly minted researcher at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, has spent his young career focused on issues of Basque identity around the world. His newest book is Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area, published by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. (Incidentally, the Center’s bookstore is now online.)
This new book brings attention to the Basque community in northern California. As described in the cover excerpt:
For many out-of-town visitors, San Franciscans, and Basques throughout the American West the book will bring back fond memories of many of the Basque inns, restaurants, bars and cafés that for the most have vanished from today’s city landscape. However, these fine establishments have not entirely disappeared from their memories and pages of history as illustrated in this book. For others, the book will open a colorful window into the history of some of the most singular and oldest inhabitants of San Francisco. It depicts the Bay Area Basque cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions in a superb manner.
The full press release follows: (more…)
I received this request for assistance from Daniel Clarke, who needs help researching how the diaspora commemorated the bombing of Gernika. Feel free to write Daniel directly or to post your comments here.
I am a student at the University of Cambridge, England, working as part of a project looking at memory, heritage and identity in post-conflict situations, with five case studies around Europe (www.cric.arch.cam.ac.uk).
Specifically, I am working in Gernika – based at the ‘Gernika Gogoratuz’ peace research centre – examining the way in which memory of its destruction in the Civil War has persisted through the years.
Particularly given the difficulty of open commemoration in the Basque Country itself during the dictatorship, I am interested in what kinds of transmission of memory were taking place amongst the Basque diaspora.
I would love to hear about any such practices within the community, either public commemorative events, programmes, monuments etc., or simply reflections on the ways in which the memory of the event has been transmitted unofficially through family customs etc.
I am particularly interested in the situation pre-1976 (when the public commemorations appear to begin in Gernika), but information on such activities in any period would be much appreciated – if possible including when they were started, by whom etc.
Daniel Clarke (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ok, maybe not quite what you think. The Aug 30 edition of The Gazette reported on the death of Sam Etcheverry, one of the greatest quarterbacks of the Montreal Alouettes and the Canadian Football League (CFL). He also coached the Alouettes to a championship of the CFL.
Sam was born in Carlsbad, NM. What the article doesn’t say (but David Cox shared with me) is that his dad was a Basque sheepherder. He played college ball at the Univeristy of Denver and besides his time in the CFL, he played a few years for the NFL’s St Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.