North American Summit of Basque Organizations

The North American Basque Organizations, founded back in the early 1970s, began with a grand vision as reflected in its choice of name--North American rather than United States--because the hope was to also include Canada and Mexico along with U.S.  The time has come to once again try to realize that vision.

The vision behind what came to be called NABO was the unification of scattered Basque entities into a viable federation that could jointly promote Basque heritage.  It wasn't an easy task back then, because among other things Basques had never really been united, not in the European homeland (though technically unified during the medieval era under the Kings of Nafarroa this reality did not reach down far past the higher circles of the monarchy) nor here in the Basque Diapora.  The slogan "Zazpiak-Bat" (the seven historical provinces coming together as one) remained an elusive goal.  Basques of the southern region of Bizkaia, for example, had essentially no interaction with Basques from the northern province of Zuberoa.  This situation persisted well until the present.

This same detachment was reflected in the Basque communities of the United States.  Basques of Bizkaian descent in parts of Idaho and Nevada interacted little with the Basque of California which were primarily from Nafarroa and Benafarroa.  Thus when delegates from the Basque assembled in Reno in 1973, the first step before the forming of any alliances, ratifying of bylaws, selecting a logo or any of that, was just getting people in the same place to get acquainted.  Once some relationships developed, then the work of NABO began.

That is what we are hoping to fulfill by following the same formula.  This time though, we will be joined by delegations from three Basque clubs in Canada and Mexico for a get-acquainted session.  With the generosity of the Basque Government that funded their travel, NABO is pleased to serve as host to the following three delegations:

   > Vancouver, Canada:  Elena Sommer & Jon Laurenz
   > Montreal, Canada:  Jean Goyhenetche and Jean-Claude Elissalde
   > Mexico City:  Eduardo Ormaechea & Begona Jauregi

These three delegations are coming here with the understanding that nothing formal is to be decided; like decades ago the first step is getting to know ech other.  If that goes well, then we stand a better chance of actually doing some things together in the future.   Thus there is no set agenda for the sessions; instead they are intended to serve more as a means of getting acquainted and brainstorming sessions to explore what might be possible to build together.   These three delegations joined by ours from NABO will meet in person to explore possibilities of doing more things together and perhaps joining together as a true federation of North American Basque Organizations. 

Clearly, distances limit the scope of shared efforts, but perhaps we could create a North American Basque Celebration (or "Ipar-Amerika Jaia" in Basque) once every three of four years.  One time we could have the gathering in Mexico, the next event would be in Canada, etc.  Beyond the possibility of these periodic gatherings, we could also explore ways of pooling our resources to all push in the same direction:  the promotion and preservation of our shared Basque heritage.  These and other possibilities can all be on the table. 

This is a unique opportunity to initiate a dialogue, and maybe something more: to realize a long-ago established goal.  Hopefully this upcoming weekend encounter will yield lasting, mutually beneficial relationships for the Basque communities of North America.  

Possible subject matters we could discuss followed by brief
1) Cultural Exchanges (Pilota, Dance, Gastronomy, etc)
2) Taking advantage of the Basque Government Tour Groups Subsidy
Program on a more broader level
3) Linking of websites
4) Ipar Amerikako Biltzarra BESTA (rotate every three years)
5) Ipar Amerikako Biltzarra 2007 (non eta noiz???)
6) Open to suggestions of Montreal, Vancouver, Mexico D.F.
7) Expanding on links/relations that NABO, MONTREAL, VANCOUVER.
MEXICO DF already have (outside of the 4 in question)
8) Membership drive and volunteerism (what works what does not)
What traditional and non-traditional activities work and don't
9) Civic and Local Government relations
1) Cultural Exchanges:
looking for opportunities to exchange and better enhance our
existing (or non-existent) programs based on what is done
elsewhere. Possible ideas could be :
Week of Gastronomy (including Modern Basque Chefs from Canada,
Mexico, New York, SF, etc..), I have spoken to several SF Basque
Chefs open to the idea....
Pilota Txapelketa (perhaps once a year...rotating
Dance Groups (IPARRAIZE, part deux???),
BASQUE FILM FESTIVAL (perhaps every 3 to 4 years)
MUS TXAPELKETA (might be too much mus....)
2) Reminding the clubs that CAV Government Touring Groups Subsidy
Program are not limited to the country you are from.....perhaps a
MEXICO/BOISE/MONTREAL trip could be planned...for example....
3)Linking of Websites....this is easily done...if not already
4) BESTA .....some of the things discussed in point #1 could be
incorporated here.
5) Biltzarra 2007 (Mexico in MAY ???? (BATZAN BESTA) or TROIS
PISTOLES in Nova Scotia in July (pilota festival)???? or Vancouver
in August??...Montreal not sure...)
6) Suggestions from DF , Montreal, Vancouver...(this is
7) Expanding on Links: What relations do Montreal and Vancouver
have with Trois Pistoles, Nova Scotia???? Mexico, DF with Celaya,
Mexico??? with Dominican Republic??? ,etc...
8) Membership drives, volunteerism..what works ...what doesn't....
9) Civic and Local Government Relations:
What relations do MEXICO DF have with DF Local Government, With
Basque Government office in DF, what NABO clubs have relations
(BOISE/SF) with local government??? DO any have Sister City
Relations established????




Foku Musikala