Nor Naiz, Gu Gara (Who I Am, We Are) is a series aiming to explore the meaning of Basque Identity around the world, both within Euskal Herria as well as in the diaspora. For an introduction to the series, look here, and for a list of the previous entries, look here.
What does being Basque mean to me?
This is a question applicable to a citizen of any country, whether American, French, Italian… It is a sense of identity and closeness to the local culture and traditions. To give an example, last weekend I went with an association from Iparralde (Itxas Begia) to participate in a representation of the way iron mineral used to be transported from Somorrostro, in Bizkaia, with sailboats all the way to Askain in Lapurdi, and from there all the way to Urdax in Nafarroa. Once in Urdax, the monks used to buy the mineral because it was considered to be of very high quality. During the event the language spoken by the people from Iparralde, Bizkaia and Nafarroa was Basque, and the whole celebration was part of a common culture and tradition. I felt a sense of belonging and enjoyment that is unique because I feel attached to the culture. I only speak a little bit of Basque but understand it quite well. Basque identity is not exclusive to the Basque speakers.
Gonzalo was born in Bilbao in the Clinica Aranguren in 1966, his father being from Bilbao and his mother from San Francisco, California of Irish origin. Her ancestors arrived in SF in December 1849. Gonzalo was raised in a Basque/American family and he previously lived in the USA for 7 years and 1 year in London. He has worked in the private sector but for the last 4 years he has worked for NGOs in India, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Honduras, and in the headquarters in Donostia since his first child was born. He am also a translator of English / Spanish and works as a free lance for various business.