Thanks to the AOL news website, we came across an article in the Arizona Daily Sun reporting from Flagstaff that a local artist, Joel Geist, has just unveiled a mural dedicated to the achievements and contributions Basque sheepherders have made to the community in the not-too-distant past.

The mural was painted at a tunnel entrance on one of the trails of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System as it goes under I-17, connecting Ponderosa Trails and Fort Tuthill County Park.

Mural de Joel Geist sobre los pastores vascos en Flagstaff (Arizona). Fotografía: Adrian Skabelund
Mural by Joel Geist of the Basque sheepherders, in Flagstaff, Ariz.  Photo by Adrian Skabelund

On the other side of the entrance is a mural dedicated to local author and cyclist “Cosmic Ray.”

We’ve spoken many times about the Basque heritage in Arizona.  It started all the way back to the first Europeans, when the area was part of New Navarre, as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and continued until very recently with the Basque sheepherders.

Even the state’s name was influenced by the Basques.  One Bernardo de Urrea had a ranch he named Arizona, a shortened form of “aritz ona,” or “good oak,” thanks to the excellent oak trees to be found in the area.  In that same place, at the end of the 18th century, a mine was found, with pieces inside it, including a silver plate that by itself weighed over 1,100 kg (2,400 lb).

The name of Arizona ended up being adopted for the whole region, and then, after the Mexican-American war, it was applied to the whole territory in 1863.

As we often say, the Basques have left their mark wherever they go, sometimes even deep enough to get a state named in Basque.

Arizona Daily Sun -20/9/2023 – USA

New urban trail mural honors Cosmic Ray and local Basque Shepard history

A Flagstaff Urban Trail System tunnel connecting the Ponderosa Trails neighborhood and Fort Tuthill County Park beneath Interstate 17 is sporting a new paint job. Local artist Joel Geist recently completed two murals honoring the local history of Basque sheep herding and local author and cyclist Ray Brutti, a.k.a. Cosmic Ray.

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Last Updated on Feb 12, 2024 by About Basque Country

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