Luzar, Jose Antonio

Daniel Chertudi and Julian Achabal
Interview Location: 
Gooding, ID
Interview Date: 

Jose Antonio was born on 14 October 1943 in Aulestia, Bizkaia to Casiano Luzar and Francisca Landeta.  His father worked in Idaho for 15 years to support the family, leaving when Jose Antonio was only 9.  He describes life on the baserri: chores, going to market and surviving food rationing (Francisca was once caught selling beans illegally!).  School was an unpleasant experience for Jose Antonio, since students were forbidden to speak in Basque and were often punished.

Casiano didn't want his son to follow in his footsteps, but after avoiding the priesthood and working in a sawmill for a few years, Jose Antonio came to Idaho at age 19.  By this time, his father was already a citizen, which made finding a sheepherding position easier.  After 4 years with sheep, Jose Antonio went into construction, then accompanied his ailing father back to Aulestia.  He hauled hay for a bit upon his return, but was soon drafted into the Vietnam War, and vividly describes the battle that won him a Purple Heart.

Jose Antonio met his wife, Carla Dickerson, at the Lincoln Inn in Gooding, and the couple was married in 1975.  They have raised three daughters, and while none are fluent in Euskera, all have taken an active interest in their heritage.  After several trips back to his native land, Jose Antonio has noticed enough changes to prevent him from considering retiring there.  Today, he is proud of his Basque identity, but equally so of his American citizenship.

Audio Recording: 
Food Rationing
Purple Heart
Basque in America
Other Images: