Basque

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A former sheepherder says he was forced to work in near slave-labor conditions for years, stranded in a remote Idaho outpost with no transportation and barely enough food. 

Owyhee County is Idaho’s second largest county and yet one of its least populated. Despite its emptiness, Owyhee County has a rich history, one that has been thoroughly explored and documented by today’s guest, John Bieter.

One of the largest Basque communities in the United States will spend the next five days celebrating the traditional Jaialdi festival in southwestern Idaho.

An estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people are expected to attend the five-day party —which starts Tuesday in Boise— as a showcase of the culture. The festival originally started in 1987, and has been held every five years starting in 1990 ever since.

Pete Cenarrusa, a Basque-American who held state office in Idaho uninterrupted for more than five decades, has died. He was 95.

Cenarrusa died about noon on Sunday at his home in Boise after a battle with lung cancer, said Roy Eiguren, president of the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture.

Cenarrusa's wife of 66 years, Freda, was at his side.

Cenarrusa was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1950 and served nine terms, including three terms as Speaker. Governor Don Samuelson appointed him Idaho Secretary of State in 1967.

Sadie Babits

It’s a Wednesday night… game night for Ysabel Bilbao. She’s part of a women’s league that plays the Basque racket sport of pelota.

“As we go downstairs, this is what I describe as the fight club because it’s just this big concrete hole. We come downstairs to the fronton and there’s girls playing now,” she says.

Basque Mus: More Than A Card Game

Mar 30, 2012
Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

This Saturday in downtown Boise people gather around tables at Leku Ona to play mus. That’s said like moose.  It’s a Basque card game, think poker meets chess. The winner will go on to compete in a national tournament in Chino, California in late April.