Arte (Chevarria), Joaquin

Joseba Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Joaquin was born in Munitibar, Bizkaia, to parents who worked on a baserri.  He attended school until the age of 13, and then got the chance to study in a Jesuit monastery for 14 months.  Joaquin knew, however, that he could make a better life for himself in America, and his father didn't want the boys to suffer through the Spanish army, so he sailed across the Atlantic on the Niagara in 1914.  The trip took 18 days--13 fewer than that of his brother, who had come on the same ship a month earlier.  He describes the passage.

Joaquin began to work in Rupert when he was 17.  Even though his brother wanted to spare him the loneliness of a herder's life, Juan was determined to make money, and so he refused to stay and work on the ranch, opting instead to become a sheepherder himself.  He describes his shock when he learned the landscape was very different from the rolling and verdant hills of his native Euskadi!

After many years in the US, Joaquin learned English and came to terms with the dangers of sheepherding.  Even though his original intent was to work for 4 years and return to the Basque country, his marriage in 1925 (to a woman he met at the Jayo boarding house in Boise) and new family prompted a change of heart.  Joaquin became a citizen in 1968, and likes the American country and people so much that he has never regretted the decision.

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