This article was translated by John R. Bopp
David Romtvedt is a university professor, poet, musician, and writer. He’s from Wyoming, and lives in Buffalo, in the northern part of that state. We’ve spoken about the significant mark Basques have left on this western state on various occasions, especially when Johnson County, whose seat is Buffalo, chose the ikurriña as the base for its county flag.
David Romtvedt has written several books about the Basque heritage, which have been published by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is a trikitilari and, alongside his daughter Caitlin Belem, they play traditional Basque music all over the area of the US influenced by the Basques. They even participated in the extraordinary 2016 Smithsonian FolkLife Festival which, as we blogged, chose to highlight Basque culture.
He’s the protagonist of today’s blog because he’s written an article, published in High Country News, a magazine specialized in events and stories about the West, which we’ve mentioned before.
In this article, he unites the references to the Basque presence in that part of the world and its vitality and staying power with a reflection about the equality of all people, regardless of sex, religion, or race.
To show that, he brings up the comments made by a preacher officiating a Basque wedding in the cathedral in Cheyenne about the equality of all people, and then contrasts that with the political reality in the US, where true equality is still a long ways off, and in some ways seems to be getting worse.
It’s a beautiful story that brings together some of the topics that we’re the most passionate about here at the blog.
High Country News -18/2/92018 – USA
A celebration of equality and of the land
In November 2016, my daughter and I played fiddle and trikitixa accordion for a Wyoming wedding — traditional Basque music on the steps of Cheyenne’s Cathedral of St. Mary. The bride was descended from a sheepherding family of Basques, a group of people who came to northern Wyoming in the early 1900s and built the nation’s largest wool industry, and the groom came from a cattle-ranching family, so the wedding was as much cowboy as sheepherder.
Buffalotarrak: An Anthology of the Basques of Buffalo, Wyoming, Dollie Iberlin and David Romtvedt