Month: July 2015 (page 1 of 3)

Flashback Friday: A Carlist Legacy

On July 31, 1895, the Basque Nationalist Party was officially founded by Sabino Arana Goiri, his brother Luis, and some sympathizers in the city of Bilbao (Bizkaia). This party was a political force against the repercussions of the structural changes that the Basque Country witnessed in the late nineteenth century. The Basque Nationalist Party defended its old territorial rights and laws, as well as Catholic doctrines, traditions, and customs. An anti-Spanish ideology was the main characteristic of the Basque Nationalist Party. It reacted to the liberal and socialist political movements that were much in vogue during those days in Basque industrial centers, like Bilbao. Sabino Arana, as the main theorist, was named president of the newly created party, a position he held until 1903, just before he died. Arana, who was a former Carlist himself, considered “race” the main element of the Basque national identity over the language.


Portrait of Sabino Arana Goiri (1865-1903)


The Basque Nationalist Party’s headquarters in Bilbao (Bizkaia) at the turn of the century

To read more about the origins of Basque nationalism, check out Javier Corcuera’s The Origins, Ideology, and Organization of Basque Nationalism, 1876-1903.

Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day

From the Backlist: Urraska – A Comprehensive Guide to the Basque Jauziak Dances

Among the most emblematic of Basque dances, the jauziak (also known as mutxikoak or sauts basques) are circular dances in which the participants, without making physical contact with one another and keeping the center of the circle as a reference point, execute certain steps or dance moves at the prompting of a dance master or a particular dancer in the group. Some steps maintain the direction of the dance, while others change its direction, and often these steps involve small jumps in the air.


The jauziak being performed in Luzaide, Nafarroa. Photo by Kezka, via Wikimedia Commons

These dances are most typically associated with Iparralde, the Northern Basque Country, but also parts of Nafarroa, specifically Luzaide (Valcarlos in Spanish) and the Baztan Valley. These differences of place, as well as the time or occasion on which they are performed, and the ability of the dancers involved, condition the jauziak and lead to subtle variations in how they are interpreted. But whatever the variation, these dances are always popular and participatory; they are intended to cement and reinforce a sense of belonging and community. For some video images of the dances being performed in this popular setting, see here, here, here, and here.


In Urraska: A New Interpretation of the Basque Jauziak Dances as Interpreted by Sagaseta, the group Aiko Taldea offer a guide to the jauziak that includes a book in Basque and English, 2 CDs, a DVD of dance performances, a guide to the dance steps for performing the jauziak as well as the scores of the accompanying music, and PDF copies of the text in Spanish and French. In short, this is a comprehensive guide to these famous Basque dances by renowned experts in the Basque Country that will appeal to anyone with an interest in not just Basque dance in particular but also traditional folk dance and music, more broadly speaking.

The Aiko group concludes its introduction to the guide with the following words, which serve to define its general outlook on how music should follow and be at one with dance:

It is worth remembering how important it is for the musician-interpreter to understand, experience, and internalize dance in order to be able to “hear” its rhythm and thus to follow the dancers, to feel the correct tempo for each dance, each step, and each dantzaria; to understand that rhythm is a musical and not a mathematical measurement, and that bar and beat vary in each dance and each step. For this reason, we only know one track: learn to dance, know “the score” of the dance, and make it part of the self. If one does not do so, for all the technical studying one does, all of our proposals will ultimately be ineffective and inadequate for practicing dance.

There is a possibility that the circular nature of the jauziak dances may be a reflection of the importance of circular or rotational movement as a key ordering principle in Basque culture. On the importance of circles, see the compelling ethnography The Circle of Mountains: A Basque Shepherding Community, by the Center’s own Sandra Ott, which emphasizes just how important such circular or rotational rituals are in a small rural community in Iparralde.

For an introduction to the the topic of traditional and contemporary Basque dance, check out Basque Dance by Oier Araolaza, a publication of the Etxepare Basque Institute available free to download here.

Discover the Basque Country: Get Active in Urkiola and Baztan

For those of you who may be lucky enough to get to visit the Basque Country sometime, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite places with you.

So you’ve expanded your mind in one or more of the numerous Basque museums and cultural sites of interest, and you’ve expanded your waistline sampling the many and varied delights of Basque cuisine . . . what better way to complement all that mental and gastronomic stimulation with a bit of physical exercise?


View from Mount Anboto in Urkiola. Photo by Txo, via Wikimedia Commons

Of the many possibilities on offer for the adventurous visitor, check out the Urkiola Natural Park in Bizkaia, which includes Mount Anboto (home to the mythic figure Mari, on whom see below), a natural environment offering plenty of hiking, rock-climbing, and potholing opportunities and where you can even be a shepherd for a day to get a real taste of rural Basque life.

The flying witch-like deity Mari is a figure associated with Basque mythology. Of the many caves in which she is said to swell, that of Anboto is one of the most important. The figure of Mari, and the mythology surrounding her, is discussed at length in Selected Writings of José Miguel de Barandiarán: Basque Prehistory and Ethnography. For example, Barandiarán notes one legend that shepherds from Aia, Gipuzkoa, once made a pilgrimage to Mari’s cave in Anboto to keep hail or other storms from harming their flocks. Meanwhile, another legend has it that a boy who stole a golden canteen that was lying beside the cave of Anboto was taken from his house that same night, disappearing forever.


Panoramic view of Elizondo, Baztan Valley, Navarre. Photo by Euskalduna, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternatively, why not add a bit of thrill-seeking to your visit and take in Europe’s highest cliff jump, among other adrenaline-fueled activities such as white water rafting, mountain biking, and paintball, at the Baztan Adventure Park near Elizondo, Navarre?

The Baztan Valley is, moreover, a renowned area of Basque traditions and its towns and villages are well worth a visit in their own right.  One such tradition is the Baztandarren Biltzarra, a gathering of people from all over the valley to witness the spectacle of a parade, held annually in Elizondo. Check out a video of this year’s gathering here. In The Basques, moreover, Julio Caro Baroja writes of certain celebrations that are particular to the Baztan Valley:

In vast portions of Europe there is a winter date on which the holiday of married women is celebrated. In Spain, as in other parts of the West, Saint Agatha’s Day (February 5) is considered the most appropriate date to celebrate it, because that famous martyr is the patron saint of lactating women. But if it is true that in the Basque lands there are many places in which Saint Agatha is worshiped and she is venerated from this point of view, it is also true that, independent of this, there can be a holiday of married women to which no particular Christian meaning is attached. In fact, in the Navarrese mountains, in the Baztan Valley, women give gifts to men on the first Thursday of the three before Carnival, called Izekunde; on the second, the men celebrate the women, for which reason it is called Andrakunde (andria is woman) or Emakunde (emakume means matron), and the third is a general holiday called Orokunde. In those days, there were special dances for married women, as there were in Gipuzkoa as well, even if it is true that they took place at the very end of the patron saint holidays.


Famous Basque Women Part II, Rock-climber Josune Bereziartu

As a continuation of summer adventure and touting famous Basque women, we embark into the world of rock-climbing. The summer has provided me with the wonderful opportunity to take time off from studying and return home to Kansas for a couple of weeks. On the way back from Reno, Nevada, I decided to stop and visit friends for my first real go at rock-climbing outside of Denver, Colorado.  While there and learning about my friend’s rock-climbing heroes, we talked about my previous blog on mountain-climber Edurne Pasaban and another famous Basque climber,  Josune Bereziartu.

Josune Bereziartu was born in Lazkao, Gipuzkoa, and has been climbing for over 20 years. When she began climbing as an expert she was obsessed about being the first woman to complete a climb, regardless if men completed the climb before her. Bereziartu has consistently pushed the limits of what women have accomplished in sport climbing. Before she redpointed (free-climbing a route while lead climbing) Bain de Sang, only men had climbed 5.14d.  2002 when she once again raised the bar with the first female ascent of a 9a/ 5.14d. The route, which translates to “Blood Bath,” is located in St. Loup, Switzerland and represented a new breakthrough in her climbing. In 2006, Josune discovered ice climbing and alpinism, as well as focusing on long traditional routes. She has made ascents of several Alp classics such as the Walker Spur on Grandes Jorasses and the Cecchinel-Nominé on the Grand Pilier d’Angle on Mont Blanc. Josune and Rikar Otegui, her husband and climbing partner, also opened the 400-meter route “El Ojo Critico,” 8a/ 5.13b, in Spain’s Ordesa National Park, a difficult and traditionally protected route with only a few fixed pitons.

Josune Bereziartu is quite the inspiration and has not only achieved these great feats for female Basques, but for all climbing enthusiasts.

To find out more about Josune, click on the following interviews and videos with the renowned Basque climber:,493,0,1,interviews.html (in Spanish) (video)


Josune Bereziartu



Kerri Lesh, Colorado



Kerri Lesh, Colorado

Major CBS Participation at Basque Studies 2015 Symposium in Boise

The CBS will be widely represented at the “Joan-Etorri” (“Going Back & Forth”) Basque Studies 2015 Symposium, to be held at Boise State University, July 29-30. Speakers with connections to the Center include the following:

During Session I, on Wednesday, July 29, at 10:00 am, as part of the “Basque Studies” topic, former CBS faculty member Professor Marijo Olaziregi will speak about “The International Location of Basque Culture.”

Later, at 11:00 am, and as part of the “Basque Mariners” topic, CBS Professor Emeritus William A. Douglass will speak on “Basques in the Pacific.”

BEPO Cover MapBetter2.indd

During Session II, July 29, at 1:30 pm, as part of the “Defining the Basque Diaspora” topic, CBS grad student Ziortza Gandarias will give a talk titled  “Countries in Between: Diaspora, the bridge to build the new ‘I’,” and at 2:30 pm CBS graduate Argitxu Camus Etchecopar will talk about “Basque Ethnic Institutions in the United States: Historical Perspective.”

Also during Session II, but this time as part of the “Basques & U.S. Public Grazing Lands” topic, at 3:40 pm CBS grad student Iker Saitua will give a talk titled “Sweet Public Lands: Basque Sheepherders, Cattlemen, and the Problems Over the Federal Domain in Nevada, 1890-1934.”

Also on July 29 as part of the symposium, don’t forget the world premiere screening of the documentary film Song of the Basques, directed by Emily Lobsenz and featured in an earlier post here. It will be screened at 5:30 pm in Boise’s historic Egyptian Theater (one block from the Basque Block).

During Session III, on Thursday, July 30 starting at 9:45 am, the Center’s Publication Editor, Daniel Montero, will take part in a retrospective look at the impact of the seminal book Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World by William A. Douglass and Jon Bilbao, at a panel discussion titled “Amerikanuak” and led by CBS graduate Pedro Oiarzabal.

Also during Session III, but this time as part of the “Euskara” topic, at 10:30 there will be a talk titled “Learning Basque Outside the Family: What makes me an authentic speaker?” by CBS author Estibaliz Amorrortu and Jacqueline Urla.

Sessions I-III will be held in the Larry & Karen Arguinchona Room 4001, Micron Business & Economics Bldg., Boise State University (corner of Capitol Blvd. & University Drive).

Finally, during Session IV, to be held at the Boise State BoDo downtown facility, 301 S. Capitol Blvdon July 30, at 1:50 pm, Argitxu Camus Etchecopar and Joxe Mallea will present the major new CBS publication Basques in the United States.

All sessions are free and open to the public. To see the full program, click here.


Related CBS Publications

Waking the Hedgehog: The Literary Universe of Bernardo Atxaga, by Mari Jose Olaziregi, is a definitive study of the most successful writer in the Basque language to date: Bernardo Atxaga. Olaziregi uses one of Ataxaga’s own metaphors, that of the Basque language like a hedgehog that is slowly awakening from a long hibernation, to chart the reawakening of Basque literature in general and the central role that Atxaga has played in this revival. Olaziregi also edited An Anthology of Basque Short Stories, representative work by 14 contemporary Basque writers, and Writers In Between Languages: Minority Literatures in the Global Scene, a collection of articles exploring the fluid nature of culture and how this translates into minority language literature.

The latest book by William A. Douglass is Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean, which addresses the issue of the often “hidden” dimension of Basque history, contending that Basques were actually front and center in what has to date been considered generically as “Spanish” exploration of the Pacific Ocean. See also a collection of essays by Douglass on the Basque diaspora in Global Vasconia; and Miel A. Elustondo’s biography William A. Douglass: Mr Basque.

Pedro J. Oiarzabal is the author of The Basque Diaspora Webscape: Identity, Nation, and Homeland, 1990s-2010s, an examination of how in the course of two decades a new kind of Basque identity emerged in cyberspace, an identity that is doing much to shape relations between homeland and diaspora Basques in the twenty-first century. Oiarzabal is also the author of Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area, which charts Basque settlement and ethnic maintenance in the area.

Estibaliz Amorrortu’s Basque Sociolinguistics: Language, Society, and Culture is a great introduction to the state of the Basque language today: how this minority language has been revived and what these efforts imply for contemporary Basque identity. Amorrortu also includes in her work a study of Basque language maintenance in the American West and the extent to which one can speak of an “American Basque.”




Flashback Friday: Society Against Itself

On July 24, 1904, a strange fight between a bull and a Bengal tiger was held in the Chofre bullring in Donostia (Gipuzkoa). Although the bull-tiger duel was preceded by a traditional bullfight, all people who attended that event was anxious to see a blood-and-gore spectacle between the bull and the tiger. The ferocious animals were placed in a large cage in the center of the arena. For almost all the fight, the bull was dominant over the tiger. The tiger constantly tried to evade the bull’s attacks. However, the spectators, who expected a bloodier fight, got bored and became increasingly tense and angry. In an attempt to satisfy the anxious audience, people in the arena started brutally hitting the animals to enrage them more. Suddenly, the bull impaled the tiger against the walls of the cage and the impact made a huge dent, through which the animals passed out of the fortified structure. Then, panic spread quickly in the bullring. Local law enforcement officers shot several times at the tiger until it died. However, some of the shots bounced around as well, resulting in the death of one spectator and a further sixteen victims of bullet wounds. The bull-tiger fight, which was a grim embodiment of the principle of the survival of the fittest, ended in tragedy.


The audience expectant waiting to see the bull-tiger fight


The bull against the tiger


The bull and the tiger out of the cage

Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day








Discover the Basque Country: The Balenciaga Museum

For those of you who may be lucky enough to get to visit the Basque Country sometime, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite places with you.


Balenciaga Museum, Getaria. Photo by Owheinze 11, via Wikimedia Commons

The Balenciaga Museum is housed in a newly built annex to the Palacio Aldamar, a villa overlooking the quaint fishing village of Getaria, Gipuzkoa (click here to see a short video showing the building). It celebrates the life and work of Getaria-born Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre (1895-1972).


Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972), via Wikimedia Commons

Described by Christian Dior as as “the master of us all” and by Coco Channel as “the only couturier in the truest sense of the word,” Balenciaga was one of the most famous fashion designers of the twentieth century. Nicknamed “the Master” and the “King of Haute Couture,” he enjoyed a glittering career designing clothes for celebrities such as Grace Kelly. The museum consists of approximately 1,600 pieces and constitutes one of the most important fashion collections in the world today. Click here to see some of these pieces.


Some Balenciaga designs. Photo by Marguerite Mengjie via Wikimedia Commons

Just in case you thought this was the Basque Country’s only contribution to world fashion, bear in mind that another major twentieth-century designer, the enfant terrible of the 1960s French fashion world, Paco Rabanne (born 1934) hails from Pasaia, Gipuzkoa.

These two figures represent another dimension of Basque culture that is often overlooked: namely, its international projection at the forefront of contemporary global culture. The interplay between traditional and modern Basque culture is discussed in Cameron Watson’s Modern Basque History.

New Location for Boiseko Ikastola

The preschool Boiseko Ikastola, the only ikastola or Basque-language school outside the Basque Country, has just moved to a new location and celebrated this in a grand opening ceremony on July 20. On the opening, and the ikastola more generally, see the report by Boise’s KTVB Channel 7 here.  Zorionak from everyone at the Center to Boiseko Ikastola!


For more on ikastolas and the Basque education system in general, see Equality, Equity, and Diversity: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country, edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano, available free to download here.


Marmitako, a Taste of Summer Basque-Style

It’s that time of year again, high summer, tuna fishing season, and time to celebrate the great Basque dish marmitako. Literally meaning “from the pot,” marmitako is a simple tuna stew. There are slight variations when it comes to preparing the dish but the basic ingredients are always the same: tuna and potatoes together with some onion, green pepper, garlic, and tomato. There’s a good recipe for the dish at the Eusko Guide Blog here.


Marmitako or tuna pot. Photo by Núria Pueyo, via Wikimedia Commons

See another recipe for marmitako, as well as for other classic Basque dishes, in Hasier Etxeberria’s On Basque Cuisine, available free to download here via the Etxepare Basque Institute.

In “Social Values and Sustainable Practices among Basque Inshore Fisherman” by Pio Perez Aldasoro, a chapter in Sustainable Development, Ecological Complexity, and Environmental Values, edited by Ignacio Ayestarán and Miren Onaindia, there is a discussion of contemporary Basque fishing practices, arguing that the care and protection of the marine environment are paramount in the Basque fishing industry. The importance of fishing in Basque culture is also discussed by William Douglass and Joseba Zulaika in Basque Culture: Anthropological Perspectives.


Cooperatives Roles in Local Economic Development (LED)


The concept of economic development originated in the early twentieth century when Western countries began to modernize and industrialize their economies. Since then, the evolution of the developmental concept has been influenced by the emergence of capitalism and demise of feudalism (Contreras, 1999). However, development as it is understood in the Social Sciences today emerged during the period of reconstruction initiated in the Unite State in 1949, when President Harry Truman declared, at his inaugural address, that economic development was a priority for the West (Truman Library, 2015). The developmental theories that emerged during the 1940s and 1950s, known as classical developmental theories, emphasize the central role that the state must play in major phases of economic development.  Nevertheless, a newer emerging contemporary developmental theory, known as local economic development, suggests the participation of indigenous populations during developmental planning.

A report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) (2006) specifies the role of a local economic development strategy in bringing prosperity to a local civil society. The ILO report specifically notes how local economic development has become a significant deterrent to globalization challenges in many part of the world. Further, the ILO stipulates that cooperative movements have become the foundation for capital accumulation, socioeconomic development, and the democratization of political and social life in many parts of the world. History has recorded how cooperative movements became the source of mobilization for local economy activities in South Africa (Khumalo, 2014), in Nigeria (Mande, at al., 2014), and in the United States (Bartik, 2003). Some of the notable achievements of cooperatives in developing countries include enhancing the employability of more vulnerable parts of the population, establishing a balance between community-centered versus self-interest policies, and  improving community-business relations (Fulton & Keltinson, 1992). Indeed, the collective nature of cooperatives can be beneficial in the local economic development approach.





For Further readings in cooperatives and local economic development topic please refer to the following literature:

Bartik, T. J. (2003). “Local economic development policies”, Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 03-91. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Contreras, R. (1999). How the concept of development got started. Transnat’l L. & Contemp, 47.

Fulton, M. E., & Ketilson, L. H. (1992). The role of cooperatives in communities: examples from Saskatchewan. Journal of Agricultural Cooperation, 7, 15-42.

International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2006). A local economic development manual for China. Geneva: International Labor Organization.

Mande, S., & Lawal, K. A. (2014). Cooperative marketing societies and its challenges for sustainable economic development in Lagos, Nigeria. Journal of Research & Method in Education, 4(6), 24-31.

Truman Library. (2015, April). Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved from

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