Cortabitarte, Elias

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

Elias was born on 3 July 1933 in Ispaster, Bizkaia, to Fermin Cortabitarte and Facunda Madarieta.  He describes all the work that had to be done on their typical family farm, even though he made money as a carpenter in town as well.  Life wasn't all work, however, and Elias has many fond memories of playing sports with his friends (and some not-so-fond ones of school).  When he had finished school, Elias worked at home until he got the urge to go to America.

With the help of his sister's fiancé, Elias immigrated to Idaho in the fall of 1952.  He worked with sheep for the next 12 years in Hagerman, and became a US citizen in 1959.  It took Elias a little while to adjust to his new life, which was made easier by the fact that most of the employees at the ranch were Basque.  His English skills didn't improve dramatically until he got married.

Elias wed Glorianne Elorriaga in 1960, after which he traveled to the Basque Country for the first time in 12 years.  He describes his feelings at seeing his birthplace after so long.  Today, Elias is a proud member of the Gooding Basque Association, and has raised a family to be proud of their heritage.  Even though he is now American, he will always be Basque.

Audio Recording: 
Father spending time in jail
First impressions
Spanish school
Other Images: