A shared heritage in Soule and the American West

Jun 30, 2009

Young American high-school students of Basque origin visited their Souletin counterparts from the Lycée de Soule on 26 June. In August the Souletin students will in turn visit San Francisco where they will perform the pastorale "Euskamerikan artzain".

A shared heritage in Soule and the American West

"Ametsaren Lana" project

This cultural exchange is the result of a cultural project entitled "Ametsaren lana" - from the name of a well-known Basque song which evokes Basque emigration - and in which some fifteen students from the Lycée de Soule in Chéraute took part during the academic years 2007/08 and 2008/09. These students study Basque at high-school and most will sit the baccalaureate Basque examination.

With the help of their Basque, English, history and geography teachers, the students have developed a project based on the history of Basque emigration to the USA. This project includes two high points:

  • The creation and performance in 2008 of the pastorale "Euskamerikan artzain" on Basque emigration written by Mixel Etxekopar (performed twice in Soule and once in Gipuzkoa)
  • An exchange in 2009 with students from the western United States, members of NABO (the North Basque American Organization).

Aims: to express themselves in Basque and learn to organise an event whilst using a major event in the history of the Basque Country (emigration to America) to create links with other students speaking English and descended from emigrants.

Students during the Pastorale "Euskamerikan artzain" in 2008

"The blog "Ametsaren lana" hosted on the Basque culture's portal website www.eke.org describes this project.

From dream to reality

The young Souletins' project is about to become reality. From 26 June to 11 July 2009 they will be host in Soule to 11 students from California, as well as Utah and Idaho, with whom they corresponded during the academic year 2008/09.

Amongst other things their stay will include:

  • An initiation to the Basque language
  • Day trips: Basque mountains, traditional companies, Gernika
  • Festivities both with other youths and adults (Euskal Herria Zuzenean festival)

San Francisco’s Basque Culture Center

The young Souletins will stay in the USA from 19 to 31 August 2009. In San Francisco they will visit the city and the surrounding area before taking part on 29 and 30 August in the Basque community's festival (Basque culture center festival)where they will perform in San Francisco the pastorale "Euskamerikan Artzain" by Mixel Etxecopar.

The "Ametsaren lana" project has received funding from numerous partners (Soule District Authorities, Hebentik Association, Basque Cultural Institute, Office public de la Langue Basque, DRAC Aquitaine).

Further details :

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