December 10: An extensive interview with Bill Douglass was published in the Basque daily Berria.


Bill Douglass

In the interview Bill talks about how the Basque Studies Program was created in 1967 and goes on to reflect how, while the era of the Basque sheepherder is over in the US, the Basque-American population is a settled and thriving community with around 30 Basque Clubs.

He also observes how things have changed since he first started visiting the Basque Country in the 1960s. Nowadays, he remarks, you catch a plane in New York for Bilbao, and on your arrival there’s hardly any cultural or social shock any more. In contrast, when he lived on the Buxungo Borda baserria in Etxalar, Nafarroa,  between 1963 and 1965, there was no electricity, indoor bathroom, or running water. The family there lived on a bit of money made from selling the milk from its four cows and the food it could get from its vegetable garden. Today, the same baserri has been transformed into an elegant modern home.

Bill discusses the celebrations that have been held this year in honor of the fortieth anniversary of his classic work, co-authored with Jon Bilbao, Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World. He recalls how the book started out as  a 30-page introductory study of Basques in Elko and grew to a work of over 400 pages, and how it has served as a source of inspiration for further studies of the Basque diaspora in the US.

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Bill then goes on to discuss how he is still actively involved in Basque-related research, citing his Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean and there is mention too of the recently published translations, in both Basque and Spanish, of his chronicle of Nevada:  Death After Life: Tales of Nevada.

Read the full interview (in Basque) here.