“Izan zirelako gara, garelako izango dira”
Because they were we are, because we are they will be
In 1949, 500 charter members founded Euzkaldunak, a social club limited to people of Basque extraction and their families. John Bastida, Teles Hormaechea and Julian Lachiondo came up with the name “Euzkaldunak” (those who speak the Basque language). The group wrote-up the By-laws and appointed the directors and officers. Luis Madareita was chosen as President, Tony Bicandi was V-President and Joe & Julia Uberuaga were Secretary-Treasurer. The Directors were John Bastida, Joe Aldape, Teles Hormaeches, Pete Leguineche and Marie Teresa Villanueva. The By-laws were ratified at the Director’s Board meeting on February 24, 1949, and they were adopted by the members at the first meeting held that same day. Euzkaldunak, Inc. was incorporated on March 28, 1949 by Juanita Y. Aldrich, Luis Madarieta, John C Bastida, Tom Bicandi and Teles Hormaechea.
That year, club members found an ideal location where they could build a center to meet and socialize—the corner of Sixth and Grove, on the Uberuaga boarding house garden plot in the heart of the downtown Basque neighbor- hood.
Built as a social club and gathering place, the Basque Center has played an important role in the history of the Basques here. The Basque Center helps maintain the Basque heritage by supporting Basque dancing, events, and gatherings. This has been enabled by the Basque community all across the Treasure Valley coming together for different annual events such as Basque card tournaments, the San Inazio festival, a Mortzilla dinner featuring Basque blood sausage, and the Sheepherder’s Ball Dinner and Dance to raise money to help individuals and families in need throughout the year.
The Center fosters the preservation of Basque traditions, a space for those who long for the heritage that makes the Basque culture so distinct. It is common to walk into the Basque Center and see half a dozen first- and second-generation older gentlemen taking a break from their Mus card game (played in the upstairs “members only” card room) to grab a coffee or a glass of red wine. Whether they go there daily or weekly, simply being at the Basque Center has become a ritual integral to their daily lives. As a social hub, it is common for local Basques to meet at the Center after work, after church or before dinner. And passersby often peek into the bar just to see who is there, or to join their friends to enjoy one of the least expensive libations in Boise.
2019 will be our 70th anniversary and we are accepting proposed designs from local artists to submit designs commemorating this event.