Arrieta, Javier

Daniel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Javier was born on 4 March 1947 in Bolibar, Bizkaia, to Esteban Arrieta and Eugenia Arriaga.  They grew up in nearby baserris and attended the same school in town their son would many years later!  Javier describes life on the baserri: lots of work, pre-dawn Sunday treks to church and classes in Spanish in a crowded classroom.  He worked as a logger for 4 years before being drafted into the Spanish army--an altogether unpleasant experience due to low wages, horrible food, and mean sergeants.  After planning for years to join his brother in Idaho, he found a job there.

Javier came to the US in 1971, and worked in a sheep camp for seven years, under the watchful eye of his brother--a foreman for Highland Livestock.  After a brief trip back to the Basque country, he decided to return to America for the chance to make a better living, and was employed in the Boise Cascade mill in Emmett until its closure in 2001.  While in Emmett, Javier often went to the Basque Center in Boise, and it's here that he met his wife Angela Lasuen.  The couple was married in 1980.

Today, John has 2 daughters Nekane and Amaia, and since the family speaks exclusively in Euskera, both girls are fluent.  He likes to attend as many Basque cultural events as possible throughout the year, and enjoys visiting his mother in Gernika.  Nevertheless, he feels more like a tourist in Euskadi these days, and despite being proud of his Basque heritage, Javier is equally proud of his US citizenship, which he obtained in 1987.

Audio Recording: 
Army days
Life on the hilltop
Marrying Basque
Other Images: