Jaialdi has come and gone, but what a great experience it was for a first year Basque Studies graduate student. Not only did I get to reminisce while sipping Kalimotxo about the days in undergrad, and listen to a live band in Euskera, but I also was able to help sell Basques in the United States. Basques in the United States is a collaborative project that has taken years to compile. Thousands of Basque immigrants names are listed, along with intricate details about their lives.
I started selling the book as part of working for publications in the Center for Basque Studies this summer. However, as people gathered for the lehendakari to speak in Boise, and at a Basque festival in Gardnerville, I was able to better see the fruits of this labor. This on-going project to gather information about the immigrants who made it across the Atlantic to start new lives came with great surprises.
Below on the left, this woman recognized her relatives found on the front cover of one of the books. On the bottom right, another woman and her dad do the same and allowed me to take a picture of the tattoo on her wrist. The tattoo is the exact same signature that is imprinted on the immigration document that is shown on the hanging poster.
I watched other family members eagerly searching for their past throughout these volumes, giving a bit more life to the history, struggle and transition of their ancestors and their heritage. It was almost as if some of them had found buried treasure-something they had heard about but never seen in real life…Definitely one of the great opportunities I had the pleasure of partaking in over the summer.
If you would like a copy, or have one and would like to help us update information in the books, please contact the Center for Basque Studies online by visiting:
https://basquesintheus.blogs.unr.edu/ (to update information about immigrants/entries)