Basque Studies Symposium at Cal-State Bakersfield

The origins of Basques in Kern County and the history of Basque whalers in North America will be discussed during the 2010 Basque Studies Symposium on Friday May 28 at Cal-State Bakersfield.

The event is scheduled to feature researchers Steve Bass and George Ansolabehere, as well as novelist Christine Echeverria Bender.

Christine Echeverria Bender.
Christine Echeverria Bender.

Bass and Ansolabehere will be discussing their project on early Basque settlement in the Bakersfield area. Their research was sponsored by a grant from the Kern County Basque Club, which will kick off its annual weekend festival on Saturday with a mus tournament and pelota.

Bass is also the author of “Basques in the Americas,” a four-part historical chronology published in Euskal Kazeta.

Steve Gamboa at previous symposium. Photo: Courtesy of Astero.
Steve Gamboa at previous symposium. Photo: Courtesy of Astero.

Echeverria Bender has written three novels based on historical fiction — “Challenge the Wind,” “Sails of Fortune” and “The Whaler’s Forge.” She traces her family roots to the ancient seafaring town of Lekeitio in the Basque province of Bizkaia.

She will be discussing Basque whalers and their dealings with Native Americans.

The symposiums have become popular venues for the discussion of Basque culture and history and have helped the university maintain relations with Basques in Kern County.

“This is one effort to become more connected to the community,” said Steve Gamboa, a Cal-State Bakersfield philosophy professor who helped organize the symposium.

The event is free and will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Albertson Room at the university’s DorĂ© Theater.

Euskal Kazeta’s Steve Bass chronologies:
Basques in the Americas 1492 to 1592
Basques in the Americas 1592-1692
Basques in the Americas 1692-1792
Basques in the Americas 1792-1893.

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