Deschutes Public Library News
Basques In The Sun
Posted By: Liz Goodrich
Date Posted: 6/11/2003
Bob Boyd, Curator of Western History at the High Desert Museum presents June's History of the Month program on Wednesday, June 25th at 4:30 p.m. The program will be held at the Deschutes County Historical Museum at 129 NW Idaho, Bend.
Boyd highlights the unique history of the Basque people in Central Oregon using slides and personal objects. “The High Desert Museum is always trying to focus on the story of our region." According to Boyd, the Basques began settling the West when the California Gold Rush began. “The West was the land of opportunity,” says Boyd who, in addition to duties at the High Desert Museum, teaches middle school history. “The Basque settlement story in the Great Basin, which includes the high desert, is unique.” Historically, Basque migration has been the result of difficult political climates and the rule of inheritance known as “primo geniture,” which forced younger to seek their fortunes away from the family farm. Many migrated to the New World and found work as sheepherders.
The Basque region is located in the westernmost part of the Pyrenees Mountains and the immediate surrounding regions in both France and Spain. With their own language and remote mountain homelands, the Basque were a fiercely independent people who were able to defend against invasions from the Romans, the Moors and Germanic tribes until the 1700’s when they lost their independence to the French. The Basque culture is known for it’s distinctive folklore, theater, music and dance.
This program is part of the History of The Month lecture series, sponsored by the Library and the Historical Society. The joint effort is designed to keep the unique history of Deschutes County alive and available for county residents to explore. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 312-1032.