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00.- Introduction

The United States, created almost entirely by immigration, is home to a hyphenated population - most Americans consider themselves as American and something else. Many Americans have ancestors that came to the States without knowing what the future may bring them, who had to start from scratch, learn a new language, adapt to new ways, to new jobs, to a new life.

People in a New York street
Even though some Americans are ignorant of their past, for whatever reason, many Americans today are proud to define themselves not only as American but, also referring to their background, hyphenating themselves to become Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans or Basque-Americans.
Many Americans define themselves referring to their background. Pictured, a program book with many Las Vegas associations

It is normal that this awareness of one's background may vary somewhat from generation to generation, but also that it can be revived with the influx of new immigrants, who contribute fresh life to the culture which is essential for its survival in the new homeland. Even in the absence of new immigration, however, Basque-Americans developed new skills in order to organize themselves to prepare a future in the US. Thanks to this effort then, we are able to say that currently the Basque phenomenon is alive and in ever evolving in certain areas of the country, especially in the western states, and involves throughout the year more than fifty thousand individuals, who share the common feeling of being Basque.


The Southern California Eskualdun Club was created in 1946 in southern LA

Like many groups' growing interest in their roots, Basque-Americans were no different in seeking to create and institutionalize during the last century. This was especially evident during the celebration of the first Basque National Festival, held in Reno-Sparks in 1959. Further evidence is found in the establishment of their own social centers, Basque Clubs, whose aim is to facilitate events and in an organized manner to perpetuate the culture and customs that their elders inherited for generations to come. While preserving the culture and customs a tie is also created to their past and gives them pride in feeling Basque themselves, or American but of Basque ancestry.



Basque roots and heritage, a contribution to America. Basque Americans are proud of being American of Basque ancestry
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