This article was translated by Mikel Martín

The group of dantzaris (dancers) The Kern County Basque Club from Bakersfield (California) has started a crowd-funding campaign in order to collect the 25.000 USD that they need to deal with the expenses of participating  in the Folklife Festival 2016, which, as usual, is going to be celebrated in the National Mall of Washington.

As we have mentioned several times, in this edition the Basque Culture will be the protagonist of this extraordinary event run by Smithsonian Institute. From the 29th of June to the 10th of July, the Basque will be able to present their culture in the USA’s heart, their reality as a nation and their contribution to the history of the USA.

As the Californian congress member with Basque origin John Garamendi explains in the cover note of the Basque participation in this edition of the festival, the Basque culture brought to the USA by the Basque emigrants is an important part, and in some states even a key part, for the culture of that nation.

As we defend since it was announced, we are convinced that this will be a historical opportunity:

We should take for granted that the Basque Government, responsible for all three territories of the Basque Autonomous Community of which Biscay is one of them, will take responsibility and the leading role in this project.

It’s the first time in history of the Basque, where all Basque territorial administrations elected by the Basque People, may be ready to collaborate on such a great project.

The government of the Foral Community of Navarre, after recently held election, has left behind the attitude against anything “sounding Basque” it once used to have, which may allow its participation in this cultural project.

Tourisme 64 (Pays Basque y Bearn) and Basquetour (the Basque Tourism Agency) have recently signed an agreement with the goal of establishing cross-border collaboration for the joint promotion of tourism in order to reinforce the appeal of both destinations. This may allow them participate in the Smithsonian Project.

So as long as it is a cultural event, all Basque territories should have their presence, role and protagonism at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2016.

But on top of that all, this may be a unique opportunity for the Basque Diaspora, the so called Eighth Basque Territory, to have a prominent role. Now that Jaialdi 2015 is still fresh in our memories it’s worth remembering that The Land of the Basques is where the Basques are.

There’s a unique opportunity in 2016 for the Basque and their culture to be placed and shownon one of the most important locations in the planet before millions of people and show the world one of the oldest cultures in Europe

However, for this event to be successful, it’s essential to have the support, collaboration and commitment of the Basque diaspora in the United States. They have shown their ability of organization and commitment to the conservation, defense and diffusion of the Basque heritage in this part of the world.

This campaign of Kern County Basque Club shows such commitment. They  consider, and so do we, this event as a life-time opportunity for them, and also for the diffusion of the Basque culture’s heritage’s contribution to their country.

We hope that this 25 Basque-American dancers will be able to dance in the shadow of the Washington Monument, remembering and honoring their ancestors and the culture they inherited from them.

Now, a little detail to understand who the Basque people are. The Kern County Basque Club was founded in the middle of the last century by 4 Basques: 3 from Iparralde and 1 from Navarra. This is a lesson that reminds us what the reality of the Basque is: ¡Zazpiak bat! (The Seven Together: making reference to the 7 Basque provinces).

We encourage you to support them!

Gofundme – 472016 – USA

Dancing to DC – KCBC dancers fund!

We are a group of 25 Basque dancers from the Kern County Basque Club of California, ranging from 11 to 20 years of age. Our youth/adult members have been awarded the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC this summer (July 7 – 10, 2016); preserving and promoting our Basque heritage. It is an exciting experience for us to share our culture with the global community and that is why we ask for your support in raising funds. Every little bit will help with our travel expenses for the event. Thank you for your time & support in sharing our love of our culture — Aupa Dantzari Gazteak!

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