This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Today, Esquire magazine published an article about the Basques in the land of their origin, and we loved it.  And also today, in the US edition of Aljazeera, another spectacular article was published about the effort of the Basque descendants in the US to preserve the culture and language of their elders in the Old West.  Two magnificent articles in the same day—a great day!

The Aljazeera article, penned by Ryan Schuessler, tells of how the Basque descendants in the US, represented by those in Boise, are determined to preserve their traditions, culture, and language.  We’re shown examples of people who are working hard on learning Basque, in families that left the native Basque Country over 100 years ago.

The article gives us great examples, like that of María Carmen Egurrola Totorica, a Basque-American who survived the 1937 Bombing of Guernica and had to emigrate to the US, and has watched as her eight children and eight grandchildren learn her native tongue, in Boise.

It’s an effort that, as we always say, shows the power and importance the future of their country among the diaspora has for them.

The article ends with two undeniable statements.  The first is that of John Bieter: being Basque is “not a blood type. It’s not physical features. It’s language”.  The second comes from Itxaso Cayero, a Basque teacher in Boise: “A lot of people in the Basque Country see the community in Boise as the diaspora that’s thriving…They’re amazed by the things we do.”

Without a doubt.  Every day, the Basques abroad, the Basques of the diaspora, the Basques in every corner of the world, surprise us and show those of us at home the way.  Eskerrik asko!

Aljazeera – 22/3/2015 – Catar / USA

‘Ni Boisekoa naiz’: Keeping Basque alive in Idaho

Bailes populares vascos en el Leku-Ona de Boise
Basque popular dances at the Leku-Ona in Boise

Standing against the wall of the crowded Leku Ona (Good Place) bar, Dave Asumendi took a sip of his wine as he watched a group of young people dancing in circles, moving to the music of a band that kept switching between Basque folk songs and accordion-infused Johnny Cash tunes. It was Thursday night on Boise’s Basque Block, a small stretch of Basque-American businesses and cafes in Idaho’s capital. Asumendi had just arrived from the intermediate Basque language course taught at the cultural center across the street. “It’s always been a lifelong burn to learn the language,” he said.

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