founding of N.A.B.O.
members: old & new
N.A.B.O. Media Kit
founded with the intent of combining the resources of Basque-American
organization to preserve and promote the Basque heritage. We are not a
stand-alone organization that accepts individuals as members. Instead
our members are Basque entities or clubs that have formed locally and
then joined us. We now count nearly forty entities and we are always
looking for more members because that means that Basques are getting
together in their own area to form new clubs.
A group of
Basque-Americans met in Reno, Nevada back in March of 1973 with a
questionable proposal, especially considering Basque history. This group
hoped to forge a federation and create a network within the larger
Basque community of the United States. The Basques had never been
united, neither in the Old Country nor in the New World. The Basque
country, or "Euskal Herria," had never been "Zazpiak-Bat" (the seven
provinces are one) representing a unified, self-conscious political
community. Euskal Herria most often referred to just the local region.
Basques from Bizkaia in the South, for example, had little interaction
with Basques in the northern province of Zuberoa.
detachment was reflected in the Basque communities of the United States.
Basques of Bizkaia'n descent in parts of Idaho and Nevada interacted
little with the Basques of California which were largely northern or
"French Basque." When delegates from the Basque clubs of Los Banos and
San Francisco, California; Boise and Emmett, Idaho; Elko, Ely and Reno,
Nevada; and Ontario, Oregon gathered together, they were well aware that
there was little if any communication between the various Basque clubs
of the American West. They were attempting to cross the divide--real and
imagined--between Basque-Americans, and their venture remained
uncertain. Would "French" Basques and "Spanish" Basques join a
federation to work together? Would individual clubs set aside
competition in an effort to preserve and promote their shared heritage?
Seventeen years later, the answer remains a resounding yes!
To view an online version of NABO's
story as written by Argitxu Camus Etchecopar, click on
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American Basque Organizations, Inc., commonly referred to by its acronym
N.A.B.O., is a service organization to member clubs that does not
infringe on the autonomy of each. Its prime purpose is the preservation,
protection, and promotion of the historical, cultural, and social
interests of Basques in the United States. NABO's function is to sponsor
activities and events beyond the scope of the individual clubs, and to
promote exchanges between Basque-Americans and the Basque country.
major efforts by NABO to sponsor inter-club events are the annual
handball tournament, the annual "mus" tournament, and a summer music
camp for Basque youth (see below). The first regional "pelota"
tournament was held in 1976, and in 1981 players representing NABO
traveled to Mexico City for the amateur world championships. The mus
tournament followed in 1977, and NABO soon hosted the world mus
championship in San Francisco (1979) and Las Vegas (1986). The first
NABO music camp was held in 1977. That year three camps were held: one
in San Francisco, one in Reno, and one in Boise, under the spirited
leadership of the late Jon Onatibia. In 1978 the regional camps were
combined into one, and the following year Luis Manuel Pe-Menchaca
arrived from Europe to teach the "txistu," beginning many years of loyal
and dedicated service to the Basques of the United States. The location
of these activities rotate from club to club each year. NABO's current
attempt to fulfill its purpose is this newsletter which seeks to inform
and encourage Basque-Americans to promote and maintain their unique
heritage. NABO has also forged a link with the autonomous Basque
government which has provided various clubs with educational material,
performers from the Basque country to enliven our festivals, and
scholarships for studies in Euskadi.
July 2010 Convention meeting in
Boise, Idaho. Overhead are the NABO flags, one each for the
Canadian provinces and American states with Basque club members.
financial support for NABO activities come from membership dues, fees,
various-fundraising events such as the Basque calendars, and donations.
Delegates from each club meet three times a year. The annual convention
for the election of officers is held during the summer, hosted by one of
the clubs to coincide with their festival. The delegates which assembled
in Reno long ago, in an attempt to "lotu" or connect the various Basque
clubs, could not have been sure of NABO's future. They were well aware
that some might resist their efforts, but after seventeen years, NABO
has proven itself a success. Most Basque-Americans have set aside their
Old World differences of "Spanish" and "French" to work together. The
member clubs of NABO have realized that they all share one common
purpose--to promote and preserve their unique cultural heritage--and
they know that this can best be accomplished with a strong "lotura"
(bond) to help one another.
Darlene Ammons and Janet Inda, "Forging A Link: The North American
Basque Organizations, Inc.," Basque Studies Program Newsletter
24 (Sept., 1981)]
Argitxu Camus' Book in pdf format