Two sheep in a museum in the Far West
At Kukuxumusu we are often packing our suitcases. Our curious beings like to branch out and move around, visit countries…get involved. This summer they crossed the Atlantic to attend a fair which is celebrated every five years in the city of Boise (Idaho), in the Far West de The USA and which is called the ‘Jaialdi.’
The excuse for making the trip was none other than to tell a tale, by way of some drawings, the story of the Basques who had been emigrating to the State of Idaho since the end of the XIX century and who have settled down there permanently. As most of these emigrants arrived to work with flocks of sheep, we have made a drawing of two of our singular sheep who are seen getting together under their two flags.
This time it has been the Basque Museum in Boise that has asked us to design some pieces for merchandising (caps, T-shirts, key-rings, satchels, paper serviettes…) to sell in their store as gifts. The museum shows the history of the Basques in The USA while it also offers classes in Basque language, organizes activities, gathers material, both written and oral… and, in general, does some impeccable documentary work.
Browsing through its pages, we have found some real little treasures such as this interview with Henry Etcheverry, a rancher who is descended from Basque roots and who provides high quality wool for many textile firms in The USA.
We also learned about Juanita Uberuaga, nick-named, ‘Jay’ (which means fiesta in Basque language). She is known as the first woman to give classes in Basque dancing in the United States and is recognized as a key person in keeping alive Basque culture in that far-off State. Down the years, she has been collecting photos, articles, adverts, documents, obituaries, programs, posters… all of which lead to a better understanding of the Basque history in North America.
Although Idaho is not exactly on the main tourist trail, our singular sheep tell us that they are really enjoying their visit. They countryside is awesome and yet tranquil and just perfect for doing some grazing on. In the Traveler magazine, we have found a good guide that makes the mouth water. They say that when Obama went to Idaho, he was received with shouts of “¡Gora Obama!” (long live Obama, in Basque).
Novelist Bernardo Atxaga has dealt with the life of those Basque shepherds who worked in North America in his book, “Days in Nevada” (Ed. Alfaguara.) as he relates in this interesting interview.