This is not the Basque Country

“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned”

                                                                 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (The Communist Manifesto, 1848)

Between July 28 and August 2, 2015, the city of Boise (Idaho, United States) will held one of the largest Basque cultural festivals outside the Basque Country, Euskal Herria. It is estimated that more than 30,000 people will attend Jaialdi. This is the story of homeland visitors and alike encountering their fellow people of the diaspora, perhaps, for the first time in their lives. It would be an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of “home” and “homeland” for diasporans’ identity as well as notions of “authenticity” and “cultural (re)production”. Where is the Basque Country in the imagery of those who left their land of origin? Where is “home” for Basque Americans? How the homeland imagines the expatriates as part of their “imagined community”?

jaialdi_postcardHomeland visitors coming to Boise should, if I may, prepare themselves to embrace the many different expressions of Basque identity and culture that will encounter, which may depart from pre-conceived ideas of what Basque culture and identity are as produced at home. Paraphrasing the friendly summer reminder for tourists, posted through many towns across the region, “You are neither in Spain nor in France. You are in the Basque Country,” please remember “Basque America is not the Basque Country” or is it? What do you think?

Athletic Club Bilbao vs Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente | Boise Basques | Oinkari Basque Dancers | Biotzetik Basque Choir | Euzkaldunak | Basque Museum and Cultural Center Exhibits | Basque Studies Symposium | Memoria Bizia Meeting | NABO Convention | Ahizpak Designs | Amuma Says No | Gayaldi Boise Edition | The Basque Market | Bar Gernika | Leku Ona | Boiseko Ikastola

For more information, please read “The Open Circle” (at “Diaspora Bizia,”


6 thoughts on “This is not the Basque Country

  1. J.C. Navarro

    Where is “home” for Basque Americans?
    I can answer you : Wherever there are two people speaking in Euskera, that is Homeland for us. That’s what Euskalherria means.
    I can affirm from my position as a member of the major portion of the Basque diaspora in America, living in Argentina.
    Best Regards

  2. Daniel Darling

    The great thing about the USA is that you can be from another place but you can be American too!

  3. Nahikari

    That is also the case in Canada and it may be one of the biggest differences in immigrants’ integration between the New and the Old Worlds. The concept of (cultural) identity is inclusive in the US, Canada, etc., whereas it is not in most European countries (the UK, for example, might be an exception). It is easier to feel welcomed in a country in which you are not expected to choose between your potentially multiple identifications or to renounce you origins in order to be included in the host community.


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