Nicholas Derenzo has just shared an article about the Basque community in Boise for American Way, the travel website hosted by American Airlines.
The article starts with two statements that, as a summary, inform the reader about what can be found when traveling to Boise.
On the one hand, there’s an active and thriving community who are members of a national community, the Basque community, who come from a corner of Europe situated straddling the western end of the Pyrenees, with a shoreline along the Bay of Biscay, which takes its name from one of the names that a good number of Basques were known to the world by. As Voltaire said, the Basques are a people who live and dance at the feet of the Pyrenees.
Many thousands and thousands of Basques came to the US in the 19th and 20th centuries, and moved out mostly to the West. One of these places, where there is still one of the highest concentrations, is Boise. There, they’ve built up a community that strongly feels its connection to its Basque roots, without forgetting its new homeland. We’ve spoken of it, and them, many, many times on this blog.
This national group is a stateless nation administered, without consultation by the Basques, by two European states: France and Spain. That’s why, in his initial definition, the author speaks of the “rich culture of the French-Spanish border region.” We honestly would have come up with a better definition, but it’s an easy way for the reader to place the Basques on the map.
The second statement is in the introduction, where the reader is informed that “You don’t have to travel to Basque Country to experience the food, festivals or famously fun-loving spirit.” Going to Boise will give you more than a good idea about what it’s like.
And so it is. Though it must be remembered that the version to be found there is the Basque Country adapted to Idaho, but the Basque Country nevertheless. After all, wherever there are Basques, there is the Basque Country.
We just need to thank American Airlines for sharing this article about the Basques of Boise, and encourage our readers to get to know this Basque “branch office” in the US. It’s one of the best, thanks to its amazing ability to organize and the large number of our compatriots there, and throughout the Americas.
American Way – 5/2021 – USA
The rich culture of the French-Spanish border region thrives in Boise’s Basque Block
With their own unique traditions and a singular language unrelated to neighboring tongues, the Basques have lived for millennia along what is now the French-Spanish border. But you don’t have to travel to Basque Country to experience their food, festivals or famously fun-loving spirit. They started arriving in the American West in the mid 19th century to hunt for gold, later embracing their roots as shepherds, tending to sprawling flocks in the Idaho mountains.
Header photo: Basque dantzaris in Boise Alefort_credit: Aaron Rodriguez