Eiguren, Joe (Kashpar)

Dave Ensunsa, John Bieter and Mark Bieter
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Joe was born in Nampa, Idaho in 1915 to Domingo and Maria Eiguren.  He was barely a year old when his parents, who had met and married in Nampa, decided to move back to the Basque country.  According to his mother, Joe took his first steps on the ship as the family crossed the Atlantic.

He stayed in Lekeitio, where his family owned a house, until 1934, when he decided to emigrate back to the United States.  After a brief stay in Boise, he went to Jordan Valley to work for a sheep company.  A powerful thirst for knowledge made the isolation of working with the sheep difficult for Joe. 

Drafted to the US Army in 1942, Joe served in the 79th Division in Europe, specializing in the 60-millimeter mortar.  He was critically wounded in battle, returning to the United States in May of 1945. He worked for the Department of Employment until his retirement, helping migrant workers.

Joe was a self taught student of Basque history, culture, and language, and became a renowned Basque historian, lecturer, teacher and scholar, as well as a pillar of the Basque community in Idaho. He would read even in his sheep camp until the early morning hours.  Joe published the first Basque/English teaching method in the US, as well as an autobiography, Kashpar.

Audio Recording: 
Joe Remembers His First Few Months in the United States
He Describes the Effects of Loneliness That Some Sheepherders Experienced
Other Images: