Euskal Herria Mugaz Gaindi is an annual seminar. Every year, researchers of the basque presence in the world from many different countries do meet to celebrate it.
The seminar has two modes: a presencial and a virtual one. The first and second seminar attendance was develop in the Basque Country. The third seminar, in its 2006 edition, was held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The fourth edition returned to Basque Country, more specifically to Baiona and Uztaritze. In 2008, the U.S. city of Bakersfield was the place to celebrate the fifth one, and in 2009 the sixth edition returned again to the Basque Country, placing in Arrasate.
This year 2010, is going to be in Boise, Idaho (United States).
The Euskal Herria Mugaz Gaindi VII. seminar will be celebrated as soon as the presential finishes.
Any registered to presential seminar can participate in virtual seminar. Those who have not participated in the presential edition can register for this online edition by contacting current moderator of the community Ikertzaileak: Jon Ander Ramos. Prior completing the registration form to the seminar is required to register in EuskoSare.
All registrants can access all the papers, do comments and questions and engage in discussions with authors and other participants. In the bottom left of each paper is located the option to "add a comment". Entering data can be added there, ask a question to the author or initiate or participate in a debate with other readers.
In this seminar edition all published papers, presentialy or online, will be taking place.
The virtual conference Euskal Herria Mugaz Gaindi 2010 will be open for papers submissions from July 28th to September 15th.
Starting September 16th and for a full month, until October 16th the virtual conference will take place including all of...
Erin Passehl, a librarian and archivist at Boise State University, has conducted research on Espe Alegria, an important Basque radio personality from 1955 - 1982 in the Western United States, Canada and Mexico.
Alegria hosted the “Basque Radio Show” on the AM band of radio. It was designed to be a cost-effective and accessible medium to unite geographically disparate individuals. Broadcast in Basque, it was both familiar and comprehensible. The numerous Basque-speaking individuals in the United States tuned into the show to receive updates on news in both the local area and the Basque country. The show also played a wide-array of styles of Basque, Spanish and French music. The show was particularly important to sheepherders, who lived in isolated areas, and new immigrants, who spoke little to no English.
Beyond the show itself, Alegria was prominent in the community and provided numerous social services, such as interpreting at the hospital or assisting with citizenship. As part of her legacy, she donated her vast music collection to the Idaho State Historical Society, establishing a Basque music archive.
Alegria’s voice was the voice that reminded the disparate Basque immigrants of their common culture and language.
The power of ritual is an important method for creating a sense of belonging and community. John M. Ysursa described the religious dances of Corpus Christi celebrations which were transplanted from Oñati to Boise, Idaho.
The dance in Boise shares certain similarities with the festival in Oñati, despite the two Cathedrals having different patron saints. Beginning before mass, the dance culminates with the Banakoa and the dance Akru Dantza is continued outside.
The importance of this dance is extended beyond the dance itself. It is more than a religious celebration, but a cultural celebration, as well. It allows the Basque people to choose to be Basque.
Rev. W. Thomas Faucher discussed cultural spirituality and how the Basque manifestation of cultural spirituality was unique among others. Faucher explained that Roman Catholicism is a hybridization of many different cultural spiritualities, agreeing upon essential doctrines but differing on the execution of these doctrines.
Faucher notes the fallacy that pre-Christian Europeans were simply pagan. In fact, there was a vast and dynamic quantity of pre-Christian religious beliefs which led to different religious and cultural traditions before and upon conversion. Following this pre-Christian lineage, modes of the expression of Catholicism differ throughout Europe and Basques have a much different relationship with Catholicism then do, say, Irish or Germans.
The manner in which Basque Catholicism appeared in the Western United States was unique from other immigrant groups. The Basque are unique in not having the over-riding sense of shame found in other forms of cultural spirituality. Another difference is the Basque emphasis on community and partnership which allows for a certain degree of independence from the need for a priest.
Faucher concluded by noting that cultural spirituality was not just a Basque or Christian phenomenon, but could be seen throughout different religions and cultures. The key to cooperation within a particular religions or harmonious interactions between different cultures is an understanding of this phenomenon.
John Bieter of Boise State University shared his research into the Church of the Good Shepard in Boise, Idaho, United States. The Church of the Good Shepard is believed to be the only Basque chapel in the United States and its success, followed by its sudden closure, relays the story of the relationship of Basque immigrants with the culture around them.
The development of frontons, boarding houses and, eventually, a church with homilies in the Basque language represented the emergence of Basque institutions in American soil. Unfortunately, differences in the cultural spirituality of the Basques in America conflicted with other manners of spirituality. Despite the success of the Church of the Good Shepard and the contributions of money and labor by the local Basques, the church was abruptly closed when Edward J. Kelly ascended as Bishop.
Opinions differ on the motives of the closure. Some argued that the income of the church did not warrant its maintenance, especially in consideration of its proximity to the cathedral that was eight blocks away. Yet others criticized Kelly for being influenced by the Americanization movement and the pressures of Catholic bishops to prove the ability for immigrants to succeed as “good Americans.”
Whether for better or worse, the closure of the Church of the Good Chapel was a catalyzing event which forced cultural assimilation.
Viola Miglio of University California Santa Barbara spoke on the discovery and interpretation of a new, fourth Icealandic glossary. The 4th Icelandic Glossary, discovered in a library in Harvard, is unique in its subject matter and grammar, thus, until recently, it was not identified as an Icelandic Glossary.
There was a long precedent for Basque interaction in Iceland as a result of heavy Basque whaling activity. The first three glossaries were written by Icelanders who did not speak Basque. They were essentially Basque word lists with some sentences in a pidgin. Pragmatic in their purpose, they were designed to facilitate interaction and trade between the agrarian Icelanders and the sea-faring Basques. Phrases such as “presenta for mi berrua usnia eta berria bura” (translated as ‘give me hot milk and fresh butter’) were, generally, direct and action-oriented. Though, there did appear to be a cultural interest, as indicated by references to deities and non-sensical verse.
The Fourth Icelandic glossary, however, was much different in content. The manuscript took so long to be identified because the original owner could not identify it as Basque. In addition, the manuscript was either heavily pidginized, or there is some unique dialogue being relayed. The content of the Fourth Glossary is also heavily cabalistic and concerned with practical magic, or Materia Medica. For instance, there is a recipe on how to find lost/stolen goods.
Beyond linguistics, the glossary is important in that it describes a cultural interaction between two cultures who do not share a common language, but share common needs and a curiosity for the unique cultures with which they interact.
Yumi Nagase of the University of Kansai Gaidai in Osaka, Japan presented her research into a selection of the Spanish Catholic Mission Journals written between 1914 and 1923. Nagase looks at the images and attitudes towards Japanese that were portrayed by the Spanish and Basque missionaries in Japan.
The Journals, housed within the Seminary in Vitoria (Álava), were heavily influenced by the reports and writings of St. Francis Xavier. The Journals were created as missionary zeal increased throughout Europe during the nineteenth Century. The Journals became increasing influential during 1914 as the colonial crisis began and attitudes concerning colonialism and missionary work were being reconsidered.
The information about the Japanese relayed through the Journals was important in the forging of European characterizations of the Japanese and justifying continued missionary work, in terms of both spirituality and economics. Nagase argues that the Basque, by virtue of their involvement in missionary work, had an important contribution to developing foreign notions of the Japanese. Additionally, Basque contributions of both finances and missionaries allowed for the sustenance of the Japanese Church throughout difficult times in Japanese history.
Nicanor Dominguez’s presentation dealt with the Basque involvement in the crisis of Laicacota. In particular, Dominguez focused on the inter-elite conflicts, characterized by numerous rival elite groups distinguished by ethnic and regional loyalties. Groups comprised of elite Basques or elite Andalusians leveraged influence among Spanish authorities and mestizo workers to increase wealth and control of the mining industry.
Basque immigrants arrived in Laicacota to work as miners in the booming silver industry. As Basque influence over the mining industry expanded, jealousies emerged among the numerous regional identities until the “Civil Wars” began in 1622. Originally, the Civil Wars were a result of a cooperative league of anti-Basque forces but, because of a lack of cohesion among the anti-Basque elements, the alliance could not be maintained against the suppression by royal authorities.
After the Civil Wars, conflicts were particularly prevalent between Basque and Andalusians, but a mestizo uprising led to the “crisis of Laicacota.” This culminated in the imprisonment of the Andalusian leaders and the political and economic success of the Basque elite. While some have viewed this period as a simple rebellion against the crown, Dominguez considers the role that inter-elite politics played in the development of the crisis.
El profesor Jon Ander Ramos (Universidad del País Vasco) a través de su intervención ha analizado la utilización de la religión por parte de las comunidades inmigrantes en América como medio de exteriorizar la identidad del grupo. Centrando su exposición en el análisis de las fiestas organizadas por la colectividad vasca de Cuba en el último cuarto del siglo XIX. Fiestas organizadas en honor de la Virgen de Begoña, patrona de la Asociación Vasco-Navarra de Beneficencia desde el año 1883.