Tag: Ikastola

April 3, 1942: Birth of Basque language and culture activist Argitxu Noblia

Argitxu Noblia in 2010. Photo by Adrar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

On April 3, 1942, Claire “Argitxu” Noblia was born in Angelu, Lapurdi, at the height of the Nazi occupation of Iparralde or the Northern Basque Country in World War II.  She would go on to found the first ikastola or Basque-medium school in Iparralde in 1969 as well as being a prominent figure in the world of politics and Basque culture in the north.

After studying medicine in Bordeaux she returned to the Basque Country where she worked as an anesthetist in Baiona until retiring in 2002. Outside of work, however, she became active in Basque culture and politics. In 1969, at the head of a group of parents working on their own initiative and together with Libe Goñi, she established a proto-ikastola in her own home in Baiona–just prior to creating the first specific school premises in Arrangoitze–and served as the first director of Seaska, the organization overseeing ikastolas in the north, for six years. She was also part of a group of people that founded the Elkar publishing house in Baiona in 1971 and was involved in the association promoting the creation of the Basque-language radio station Gure Irratia in 1981.

She took an early interest in politics while still at university and stood as a candidate for one of the first Basque nationalist formations in Iparralde, Enbata, in the 1960s. She served on the Baiona city council between 1989 and 1995, and was then briefly head of the Iparralde section of the Basque Nationalist Party before later joining Eusko Alkartasuna.

If all that were not enough, she has also been an advocate of public health, peace, and women’s issues, serving in numerous associations to this end. In 1995 she received the Grand Prix Humanitaire from the French government and in 2009 the Femmes 3000 federation awarded her with a prize for her voluntary work.

One of the Center’s publications, The Transformation of National Identity in he Basque Country of France, 1789-2006 by Igor Ahedo Gurrutxaga, discusses the social, political, and cultural context in which Argitxu Noblia has been such an influential figure in Iparralde.

Thousands gather for Herri Urrats 2017

This past Sunday thousands of people gathered together in the sun to celebrate the annual Herri Urrats (A People’s Step) festival in the Senpere lake area in Lapurdi. This is a fundraising event for Basque-language education initiatives in the Northern Basque Country. And this year, specifically, all the money raised will go toward the expansion of the Bernat Etxepare Lizeoa (high school), in Baiona, to incorporate a vocational or trade school, thereby offering full technical and vocational training in Basque for the first time in Iparralde. That’s not all, though, as part of an ambitious wider plan, the new site will also incorporate a barnetegi (that is, boarding facilities for adult learners of Basque) and major new sports installations. Exciting times ahead for the Bernat Etxepare Lizeoa!

So that’s the serious side to all this, but Herri Urats is really a fun day out for all the family, a meeting place for old friends, and an opportunity to celebrate the Basque language. And when the sun shines, which is does occasionally, there are few better places to be! See some great pictures from the day here.

Nafarroa Oinez 2016 video: Check it out!

A few weeks ago we posted the video for the ikastola fundraiser day in Gipuzkoa (click here to see that). This weekend, October 16, it’s the turn of Nafarroa to host its own fundraiser; this year, Nafarroa Oinez will be held in Viana and will be raising funds for the ikastolas of Viana and Lodosa.

The slogan for this year’s event is “Hartu, tenka, tira!” (Pick up the rope, take the strain, pull!) and refers to the referee’s commands in a tug-of-war contest. It was chosen to represent all the effort and commitment required in disseminating Basque-language education. So come on everyone, let’s all pull in favor of Basque! Check out the video!

 

 

Herri Urrats, another step toward Basque-language schooling in Iparralde

Yesterday, May 8, Herri Urrats, the annual fundraising event in aid of ikastolak, Basque-language medium schools, in Iparralde took place in Senpere (Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle) in Lapurdi. The event, which has been held every year since 1984, takes the form of a festival held around the Senpere lake, 3 miles or so from the town center.  People typically stroll around the lake, generally hang out, have picnics or grab something to eat at a food stall, and attend one of the many shows on offer (music, dance, theater, etc.). Weather permitting, you can even take a dip in the lake (not really an option this year!), but all in all, a fun day out and all for a good cause.

This year’s event specifically sought to raise funds for renovating the site of the Bernat Etxepare high school in Baiona as well as toward developing a whole new section of the school that will offer, for the first time in Iparralde, vocational education or professional training in Basque.

Check out the official site for the event here, as well as pictures (and a short video) from yesterday, courtesy of Berria, here and below:

Check out, too, the clip for this year’s Herri Urrats song, “Jalgi” (Get out there) by Esne Beltza, which includes the participation of kids from the Bernat Etxepare and Oihana ikastolas.

On Basque education, see Equality, Equity, and Diversity: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country, edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano, available free to download here.

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!

ikastola_logo

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.