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.
Nor Naiz, Gu Gara: PJ Mansisidor
PJ Mansisidor was raised on his family’s farm in Homedale, Idaho. He earned a B.S. Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Idaho and an MBA from Northwest Nazarene University. PJ has traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad. He spent one summer living in Donostia (San Sebastian) studying at Esquela De Pais Vasco. PJ currently works at POWER Engineers in Boise, Idaho as a Sr. Packaging Engineer. He is active in the Boise Basque Ezukaldunak club as we all the Homedale Txoko Ona club. He continues to play pala and esku and is the Expo Idaho Chairman for Jaialdi 2015 and Jaialdi 2020.
Nor Naiz, Gu Gara: Marc Cormier
Born abroad, with Irish, Scottish, Mi’kmaq and Acadian roots from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Marc Albert Cormier was raised in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. After four years at Université de Bordeaux in France, he moved to Canada in 1992 and studied at the University of Toronto, obtaining a Bachelors in Education. For 10 years, Marc was a director of a nationwide education system for homework help working with a virtual office staff of 20 professionally trained teachers from across Canada which year-over-year increased usability stats for students desiring to get better grades in school. In September 2018, Marc moved to back to his teaching roots to inspire kids in math and science. For his work as a teacher, principal and project manager in education, Marc was awarded two knighthoods for his groundbreaking work in online education and his passion for maintaining one’s culture.
Nor Naiz, Gu Gara: Henar Chico
My name is Henar Chico, I was born in Bilbao, Bizkaia a while ago. I moved to Boise at 21, and I love it! Good city, good people, good weather, and one of the largest Basque communities out there. I have two kids, Andoni (7) and Maitane (6). I work for Hewlett-Packard full-time as a Technical Software Consultant and do translations as a side business.
Throughout my career at the Center for Basque Studies, I have experienced the Basque community from the privileged position of “welcome guest.” Genetically, I am not Basque. I certainly do not look Basque. People meet me here and in the Basque country and ask, “Why have you studied the language? How did you come to spend your life studying the Basques, their language, and their culture?”
For me, to be Basque is to have a Basque surname—a name that is tied to the land and house of your ancestors—a name that has lived on through the test of time. Even if one does not have a Basque name, one can still feel Basque.
Aitor is an engineer who works both in the automobile industry and as a city councilor in Gernika-Lumo. Born in Gernika, he was raised in Toronto before ultimately returning to the Basque Country as an adult.
Guillermo is an illustrator and graphic designer who, born in Bilbao, now resides in New York with his wife and son. He recently began work on his own graphic novel based on the history of Basque whaling; the first issue was released just last year.
David Cox lives in rural Ontario, Canada, with his family, and visits the Basque Country annually, or whenever possible. He writes for several internet-based publications including a music column, Altxor Bila, for Buber’s Basque Page.
Nor Naiz, Gu Gara: Gonzalo Aranguren
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.
Pedro J. Oiarzabal was born and raised in Bilbao and has spent much of his life between the Basque Country, Ireland and the United States. He holds a PhD in Basque Studies-Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno, a MPhil in Economics and Social Sciences from Queen’s University of Belfast (N. Ireland), and BA in History from the University of Deusto (Bilbao). Currently, Oiarzabal is a Research Scholar on International Migration at the University of Deusto, Bilbao. His research examines diaspora creation and diaspora interaction with information and communication technologies as well as the meaning of identity in both homeland and diaspora realities, with particular emphasis on the Basque case. Among his publications are La Identidad Vasca en el Mundo (2005), A Candle in the Night: Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, 1967-2007 (2007), Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area (2009), and Diasporas in the New Media Age: Identity, Politics, and Community (2010).
Blas is the son and great-grandson of Basque immigrants to the American West, Basques who left their home in search of better opportunities. He spent one year in Donosti attempting, with only limited success, to learn Euskara. He is the creator of Buber’s Basque Page.
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