Category: Basques in Nevada (page 1 of 7)

The Center for Basque Studies had the pleasure of hosting the Ardi Baltza Kontalari from Lamoille, NV in early November. As a contemporary Basque dancing group, Ardi Baltza combines the concepts of tradition and innovation in their mission to preserve and educate about Basque culture.

During their first day at the CBS, Ardi Baltza demonstrated Basque dancing to the Basque Culture and Basque Transnationalism classes. Before each dance, their director, Kiaya Memeo, explained the meaning behind the dances and answered questions from the audience. The students were then invited to learn two dances, Sorgin Dantza, a comical dance where the women (taking on the role of witches) turn the men participating in the dance into women, and Pitx, a children’s dance. Their performance provided many of the students their first up close experience with Basque dance and culture.

See them perform a contemporary version of Makil Dantza here:

The next evening the Ardi Baltza Kontalari performed Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika. The show educated the audience about the fateful day of April 26, 1937, when the Condor Legion and the Italian Air Force, acting on the orders of Franco, dropped 31-46 tons of bombs on the Basque market town of Gernika. The dancers, using a combination of the traditional Basque and contemporary steps, illustrated the experiences of the Basque people before, during, and after the bombing, while Kiaya Memeo narrated the eyewitness accounts of survivors. Their performance served as a reminder about the importance of our history and honored the memory of the people who were in Gernika that day.

From Left: Jennifer Obieta, Amanda Shields Kerr, Franci Mendive Wilkinson, Kiaya Memeo, Olivia Memeo, Olivia Rice, & Hannah Hill

Eskerrik asko to the ladies of the Ardi Baltza Kontalari for traveling to Reno to perform for our students and the Reno community!

Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika

Ardi Baltza Kontalari

The William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies invites you to Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika on November 2, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the UNR Wells Fargo Auditorium (MIKC 124). In this performance by the Lamoille, NV based Basque dancing group, Ardi Baltza Kontalari, the eyewitness accounts of the survivors of the tragic Nazi bombings on Gernika in 1937 are presented and honored. Through their lyrical and contemporary dance styles, mixed with traditional Basque steps, the dancers demonstrate the strength and resilience of the Basque people in the face of adversity.

Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika at the 2018 NABO Convention

This performance will also feature a short introductory talk by Dr. Xabier Irujo, professor at the Center for Basque Studies and author of The Bombing of Gernika: A Short History, on the events leading up to the bombing. Free admission.

To learn more about the Ardi Baltza Kontalari, visit: https://www.facebook.com/ardibaltza/

For information on Dr. Irujo’s book, a companion to this performance, visit: https://basquebooks.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-bombing-of-gernika-a-short-history

Nevada Stories Series: Folklife Program Videos Online

A couple of months ago, I came across a few videos on the Nevada Arts Council website highlighting Basque culture in Nevada.

Nevada Stories is an online video series focusing on folk and traditional artists, specific local traditions, and Nevada’s landscape. An outreach activity of the NAC Folklife Program, it supports the Nevada Arts Council’s mission to provide folklife education to all age groups and to highlight the individual folk artists, traditional communities, and cultural sites that make Nevada distinctive. Filming and production are funded through Folk and Traditional Arts grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

I’ll share the Basque ones here, but be sure to check out the website for more on the many cultures that comprise Nevada!

The Basque Chef: Asier Garcia

Visitors to the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko (2018)–themed “Basques and Buckaroos”–saw firsthand that Basques know how to have fun! A popular social pastime in the Basque Country involves bar hopping while sampling the pintxo (pronounced “peen-show”) or bite-sized snack specialties of the house. Our guest chef Asier Garcia hails from Bizkaia and is now a resident of Boise. Asier leads a workshop group through the intricacies of creating a dozen different pintxos, deconstructing this artful tradition to enhance their culinary repertoires and satisfy their appetites.


Basque Cooking With Jean Flesher

Utah bandleader, contractor, Basque personality and cook Jean Flesher presents Basque cuisine in traditional fashion with a northern Basque country (French influenced) flavor. The workshop features classic dishes and cooking techniques. Participants learned new recipes (included in the video) and left with satisfied appetites and a full serving of Basque joi de vivre. This film was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and partnerships between the Western Folklife Center, Nevada’s Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and the Nevada Arts Council.

Hunting the Mountain Picassos

For more than half a century, Jean and Phillip Earl of Reno have used clues from old maps, letters, and books to hunt for and document “Mountain Picassos,” distinctive figures carved into aspen trees found in the high country meadows of the Great Basin. These figures– along with names, dates, and sayings– were carved by Basque sheepherders in the early to mid-20th century.

Euskal Jaiak: Celebrating Basque Culture – the 50th Annual National Basque Festival, Elko
For the last 50 years, Basque families from throughout the American West have gathered in Elko, Nevada on 4th of July weekend to celebrate their culture and the opportunities afforded them in the USA. Filmed over the three days of the 2013 National Basque Festival, “Euskal Jaiak: Celebrating Basque Culture” offers the viewer an all-embracing view of this multi-faceted event.

To learn more about Basque’s in Nevada, go to, Home Means Nevada 1896: Folklife in Nevada Historic Radio Series

Getting to Know Basque Books: A Man Called Aita

After reading My Mama Marie this summer, I decided recently to read Joan Errea’s other book in our collection, A Man Called Aita.


 
The book was a quick read, a collection of clever poems all about Joan Errea’s father Arnaud Paris and Errea’s experience growing up on the ranches of rural Nevada. Arnaud was a kind and gentle man who was a sharp contrast to Errea’s experience with her stern mother Marie. The poems are clever and playful, complimented by the fun illustrations at the beginning of every poem, including sketches of the Paris’s sheepdog “Queenie” and the pigs that had gotten into Aita’s stash of cider. It is definitely a worth-while book to check out, especially those who are fans of My Mama Marie .

 

Paul Laxalt Dead at 96

Paul Laxalt, born in Carson City, Nevada, on August 2, 1922, died on August 5, 2018 at the age of 96. Laxalt served as both the Governor of Nevada (1967-1971) and a United States Senator (1975-1987), and was involved in politics throughout his life, serving also as a chairman of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns and working with Reagan to clean up Lake Tahoe.

Laxalt went to college at Santa Clara University in California, then enlisted in the Army in World War II as a medic. Under the G.I. Bill, he went on to the University of Denver to earn his law degree. In 1950, Laxalt was elected Ormsby County’s (in northwestern Nevada, which contains Carson City) district attorney and served for one term. Laxalt was elected lieutenant governor in 1962.

10/6/1983 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Paul Laxalt Bob Michel Corrine Michel and Carol Laxalt watch the Performance by Oak Ridge Boys during the Barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn by Reagan Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons

10/6/1983 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Paul Laxalt, Bob Michel, Corrine Michel, and Carol Laxalt watch the Performance by Oak Ridge Boys during the Barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn by Reagan Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons

Laxalt was the brother of Robert Laxalt, who was the author of Sweet Promised Land, a groundbreaking novel for Basque culture in the United States, and the grandfather of Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, who is now running for Governor of Nevada.

 

Diaspora Day

The very first Diaspora Day was held last Saturday, September 8th, a date designated by the Basque government because the date coincides with the first global circumnavigation in 1522 by Juan Sebastian Elkano and his crew.

People posing by Basque monument in Reno, Nevada  People gathering around

The day focuses on the Basque diaspora and different Basque organizations and communities would each find a way to celebrate. The idea is to bring more attention and celebrate the Basque diaspora. The Reno diaspora decided to do a walk from the Basque Sheepherder Monument to the Sheepherder Exhibit. To learn more about Diaspora Day and how it came into being, check out the blog post by Kate Camino on the new holiday: https://bit.ly/2CH80Tn.

Photo of Basque monument by Inaki Arrieta Baro

Photos by Inaki Arrieta Baro

Getting to Know Basque Books: My Mama Marie

I read My Mama Marie by Joan Errea about a month ago and while reading it, I was reminded of the summer vacations my family and I would take to my mom’s childhood house outside Enterprise, Oregon. My mom’s family raised sheep when she was growing up and have been in and out of the ranching business for generations, so there were many stories in My Mama Marie that reminded me of sitting around in my mom’s childhood home looking through old photographs, letters and books, while my older relatives told stories that we had all heard a million times and walking around the hills of rural Oregon that used to be my grandfather’s sheep’s grazing grounds. Both the book and the experiences I have with my mom’s family are a way of understanding people who have been gone for years, that we can only know through the memories of others and photographs and trinkets they left behind.

Family is a complex and defining part of life, often shaping the foundation for the way we live and view the world through the course of our lives. Errea in her book My Mama Marie shares her memories of growing up on the ranches of rural Nevada, focusing on her relationship with her mother, Marie Jeanne Goyhenetche.

Farmland near Enterprise, Oregon by Adam Vogt via Wikimedia Commons

Errea goes through the course of her mother’s life starting with her childhood in the French Pyrenees to her immigrating to the United States and starting a family with Errea’s father, Arnaud Paris, on the ranches of rural Nevada. My Mama Marie is full of stories of celebration, heartbreak, love and understanding. Though there are many stories of what it is like to live on a ranch and what it is like to live in rural Nevada, My Mama Marie is at its core a story about how a daughter begins to understand her mother, which I think is why in the end it is so relatable.

Currie, Nevada Depot by Mark Hufstetler via Wikimedia Commons

“Winnewhat?” “Winne-e-macca!” NABO 2018

 

“Winnewhat?”

Winn-e-macca

This is how I could summarize my first contact with natives of Winnemucca, Humboldt state in northern Nevada. I guess they forgave my deficient pronunciation thanks to the fact that we were in a relaxing setting, surrounded by Basque-Americans at the Ormaechea’s Basque Restaurant bar.

“You will improve that after a Picon, buddy!”

(By Iñigo Medina Gracia. Photo credit Benan Oregi)

Our main purpose was to attend as guests the 40thAnnual Basque Festival and the NABO Summer Convention (main meeting for the North American Basques Clubs) in Winnemucca on Saturday, 8th of June. This time, the club delegates came from all over the USA (states of California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and even Washington D.C. were represented). Assistants were called to follow the development of main programs ran by the federation chairs. They analyzed the organization’s developments over the past five months, designed and approved future projects, and voted for internal presidential elections. Philippe Acheritogaray from San Francisco’s BCC was elected as new NABO president. Incumbent president Annie Gavica from Boise Basque Museum became Vice-President. Mayi Petracek from Colorado was ratified as Treasurer, and our partner at the CBS Kate Camino from Reno became the new Secretary (Zorionak Kate!).

As guests, we had the chance to mention some of the projects we are running currently.

Basque librarian Iñaki Arrieta gave an introduction about the project carried out by the CBS and the Basque Library, which is located in the UNR. He underlined the work homed by this entity, and mentioned the Library’s vision of acquisitions as a memory and research portal institution focused on Basque Culture and Basque Diaspora. The mission of the Jon Bilbao’s Basque Library is the world’s leading academic library on Basque Diaspora primary focused in North America. Its duty as institution is to develop a collection of Basque resources, preserve the documentary heritage of the Basque Diaspora in the US, and serve as research portal in English to memory institutions. Inaki reported the importance of various current donations done by several individuals (Anita Anacabe, Cengotitabengoa Family or Linda Dufurrena), including the recent donation of Frank Bergon as an incentive for other Diaspora members who could contribute to enrich the Archives. A new digital management system with different repositories designed by the UNR was also presented.

Basque Government’s representative Benan Oregi, mentioned the recent programs they are offering within the Diaspora and also in the Basque Country. Presented projects were  ”Gaztemundu” program and “Euskal Herria: huge migration territory”. This last testing pilot project focused on bringing a current approach and wide scoop perspective about the historical importance of Basque Diaspora oriented to high school students in Euskal Herria. Summer courses ran by the Directorate for the Basque Community Abroad in Azkoitia during 12 and 13 of July, were also mentioned. The leitmotiv of the summer courses this time will be “Migration and Mobility within the Basque Community Abroad”. I was also presented in plenum as assistance and management interlocutor between the Basque Government and the North American Basque Clubs.

After 7pm, Ardi Beltza dancers from Ruby Mountain performed their “Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika”, an emotive representation about the bombing of Gernika during the Spanish Civil War. The performance featured the recently published “The Bombing of Gernika, A Short History”, written by Dr. Xabier Irujo and published by the CBS. The book narrates“the decision of the fascist forces to attack the open city, (…) the horror of the bombing, (…)  its aftermath,and (…) the terrible events that colored not only the modern history of the Basques, but of all of humanity as it ushered in a new age of warfare.”

After dinner, the Basque-American band “Amerikanuak” made the night enjoyable with their concert in the surrounding area of the Ormaechea’s Restaurant. Assistants had a good time and did not waste the chance to dance typical and popular Basque songs until midnight.

Next morning at 8am, the brave participants in the Festival ran (some of us just walked) the 5K run proposed by the organization. It was a nice chance to burn the delicious and generous dinner offered the night before at Ormaechea’s, one of the two Basque restaurants settled in Winnemucca. After that, everything was ready for the scheduled parade along the city. Assistants held a wake over to ensure themselves a strategic position in both sides of the West Winnemucca Blvd in order to guarantee the best chance for picking up the sweets that the parade participants were going to throw.

At 12am, the opening ceremonies took place at Nixon Lawn where the dancing performances started while the requests to participate in the Basque sporting events were open. Two bars with beverages and Txorizo sandwiches offered the assistants a nice way to season the combination of warm weather, friendly atmosphere and open Basque culture. The first floor of the East Center of Winnemucca’s Convention Center was fulfilled by several stands of vendors that mixed Basque thematic items and Western crafts. The visitors also had the opportunity to visit an historical exhibit about the Basque Country provided by the Boise Basque Museum, get involved into AISA Euskara courses and purchase the varied publications on Basque themes edited by CBS that our partner Daniel Montero was featuring there.

At 1.30pm, a typical Basque lunch was offered to all participants. The menu included salad, beans, lamb stew, bread, steak and dessert. The afternoon agenda was fulfilled with the Txerriki sausage show off and paella exhibition and sale at 5,30pm. After dining at the iconic Basque Martin Hotel, we topped it all with the dance at West Hall of the Convention Center. The bands Decoy, Amerikanuak and Ardi Beltza performed, and created a festive atmosphere until midnight.

Sunday morning held no pessimistic feelings but fraternity and holy joy at 9am during the Basque Catholic mass offered at the Winnemucca Convention Center. After the homily, participants gathered at the West Hall to have a marvelous Basque breakfast of tripota, jamon, chorizo, eggs, potatoes and bread. The Basque dance competition awards were announced, which marked the end of a marvelous festival in Winnemucca. Or should I say “Winn-e-macca”?

 

 

 

 

Kali Kester Winner of Carmelo Urza Scholarship

By Kate Camino for Astero:

Kali Kester

As reported earlier USAC and NABO excitedly partnered on the Carmelo Urza Scholarship for students to study abroad on either its Bilbao or Donostia programs. The first deadline to apply for the scholarship for those planning to study abroad in the fall, was April 1st. Now it is our pleasure and honor to announce that the winner of the first ever Carmelo Urza Scholarship is Kali Kester. Kali is from Battle Mountain, Nevada and a member of the OberenakBasque Club. She participated in Basque dance from the age of 5 on, and is now attending UNR pursuing a double major in Community Health Science and Spanish. Her plan is to spend the 2018-19 school year between Donostia in the fall and Alicante in the spring. She is excited about the prospect of becoming entirely immersed in both the Basque and Spanish cultures. Besides taking a full load of classes, she also hopes to become involved with a local Basque dance group there. In her words, “I am so incredibly honored to be receiving this scholarship because the Basque community and culture have been such an influential and important part of my life.” Zorionak Kali! Deadline to apply for the scholarship for Spring 2019 is November 1st. The application is available here.

Txakolina Fest at Craft Wine and Beer

Mural design and photo by Erik Burke

I like to think of myself as an unofficial ambassador for the Basque wine, Txakolina. Apart from making it a chapter of my dissertation, which demonstrates how Euskara is used to market locally produced foods, I also just love drinking it. So, when this libation is celebrated right here in Reno at Craft Wine and Beer, it’s time to make some noise!

This year, Craft Wine and Beer’s Txakolina Fest will be on Friday, May 25th from 5-9pm. Ty Martin and his crew put on this Basque-inspired event, and seem to amp it up every year.  Here is his sneak preview of what is to come this Friday:

Between graduation parties, the first BBQ’s of the season, and all the yard work (so much yard work), we also cram in a bunch of seasonal events, and my favorite event we do might just be TXAKOLINA FEST! It’s always a hustle to get the fresh vintage of our favorite Basques wines to Reno before everyone checks out for summer, but the stars aligned this year. For your sampling pleasure, we’ll be pouring AT LEAST six Txakolina from Bizkaia, Getaria, and Alava alongside various Basque ciders. Glasses can be had all evening on Friday, May 25th, from 5pm until close with a more formal(ish) flight offering from 5p-7p. We will also smoke some chorizo from Villa Basque down Carson way. Rumor has it that some dancers from Zazpiak Bat may be just loose enough by the evening to cut a rug and show you a few steps. Lastly, in the spirit of Basque competition, we’ll have a “Best Porron Pouring” contest and lots of dancing as the night wears on. Ladies, bring your best war cry!

For the oenophiles and foodies out there who would like to learn more about this Basque wine, check out the headlines that list several must-try “Txakolinak“:

Decanter’sTxakoli: The Spanish wine style you need to try in 2018

Food and Wine’sThirty Roses to drink this summer

Forbes’ Txakoli: The Choice Wine for Spring Sipping

Hope to see you all at Craft Wine and Beer this Friday for some Txakolina sippin’!

 

 

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