Ibaibarriaga, Jose

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Mountain Home, ID
Interview Date: 

Jose was born on 12 December 1960 in Gernika, Bizkaia, to Anton Ibaibarriaga and Rosa Erezuma.  He shares vivid recollections of his childhood in Forua: his father's decision to leave the family for work in America, a dance group constrained by Franco, children being reported to the police for speaking Euskera in school, and farm chores.  Jose's comments regarding the political and social atmosphere of the region during the first two decades of his life are particularly insightful.

Ever since he was a little boy, Jose remembers telling the townspeople that he wanted to come to America--after all, even his great grandfather had worked in Idaho!  He finally got his chance 1979, and despite a rocky start, he soon grew to love the independence he found in the desert.  Jose learned English, obtained a GED and married the woman of his dreams--twice--and even though Debbie Swartz was not a Basque, she was familiar with the culture and anxious to learn more.

Today, Jose works with a medical supply company in Mountain Home.  He has a daughter Itsasne, who loves the Basque country and culture as much as her mother.  Given all the changes in Euskadi since he left it so many years ago, Jose and his wife would love to retire there one day.  Until then, he keeps in touch with his roots through involvement with the Mountain Home Basque Association.

Audio Recording: 
Flagless flag dance
One house, two towns
Stranded in New York
Other Images: