by Jacob Stevens
Last Revision: 2002.12.04
Many thanks to Roger Clark of the Museum of Northern Arizona, Dr. Phil Weigand, Kenny Acord, and Bonnie Holmes-Stevens for helping locate many of these resources.
Douglass, William A. and
1975 Amerikanuak: Basques in
Considered by many to be the “bible” of Basque-American study, this was one of the first major historical/anthropological works published on the subject. Basque culture is described as “…one of the least-studied elements in the pluralistic social fabric of the Americas despite the fact that they were among the first Europeans to emigrate to the New World, as well as one of its most widely distributed immigrant groups.”
“The Basque People” – Details the history of the Basques from 5000 BC to
present in their homeland in the
“Mercenaries, Missionaries, Mariners, and Merchants” – This chapter provides
information on Basque activity outside their homeland, serving as a prelude
to their immigration to the
“Sheepmen of South America” – This chapter traces
the movements of Basque emigrants to Spanish colonies in
“Basques in Spanish California” – This chapter traces the movements of
“Basque Beginnings in the New California” – A study of the first Basque
immigrants in what is now the
Other chapters are “Ethnicity Maintenance among Basque-Americans” and “Conclusion.”
Douglass, William A. et al.
1981 Basque Americans: A Guide to Information Sources. Gale Research Company
This annotated bibliography lists many sources on a variety of Basque-related
subjects. The authors divide references into several categories, including
Elderhostel Program 1996, Peaks Ranger District
1996 Dendroglyph Survey and Recording Procedures. Elderhostel Program 1996, Peaks Ranger District.
This information packet for a dendroglyph recording project outlines methods for the survey and recording of Basque dendroglyphs. Included are a recording form and a photo log form. The recording forms contain spaces for information such as location, subject, orientation, etc.
Etulain, Richard W. et al. (editors)
1999 Portraits of Basques in the
This collection of essays provides perspectives on Basque life and history
1999 The Basque: A piece of the
Jauraqui, a Basque descendant, gives a brief
history of the Basque. The Basque heritage is nearly untraceable, and they
first arrived in
1985 Basque Sheepherders of the American West.
1966 Lonely Sentinels of the American West. National Geographic Magazine. Volume 129, Number 6. Pages 870-888
Laxalt is the son of a Basque sheepherder and
a prominent writer on Basque culture and society. This very personal narrative
portrays “a slice of life” near the end of the Basque’s main sheepherding
period in the American Southwest. The story is written as a subtle mix between
the perspectives of father and son. Included are accounts of sheepherders
who went insane and the paths that shepherds took after the crash of the
sheep industry in the
1992 History that Grows on Trees.
Mallea-Olaetxe researches for the Basque Studies
program at the
1992 Speaking through the Aspens.
Mallea-Olaetxe researches for the Basque Studies
program at the
Most previous research on Basque dendroglyphs has focused primarily on the carvings’ artistic value. This was partly due to language barriers (almost none of the carvings are in English, and some are in the Basque language, which has no known direct relation to any other European language.) Mallea-Olaetxe supports the assumption that almost all aspen dendroglyphs in the American West were made by Basque sheepherders.
Basque have been emigrating from their homeland
for thousands of years. This is largely due to overpopulation and a strict
inheritance system. Basques originally came to
Most trees that were carved were aspens. The population of aspens in the
Most carvings are of names and dates, but there are other prominent subjects.
Many carvers write the name of their hometown or homeland—one’s birthplace
was very important to Basque immigrants. Patriotic statements about
Traditionally, the Basque culture is said to view sexuality as taboo. However, seclusion and loneliness are thought to have brought many Basque sheepherders’ desires to the surface. Thousands of carvings reflect the absence of women. Some are textual messages longing for women, but many others are graphical portrayals of nude women in erotic positions.
Other, more unusual imagery that Mallea-Olaetxe interprets includes biblical depictions of snakes, men in military uniforms, and fantasy creatures.
McCall, Grant E.
1968 Basque Americans. R and E Research Associates
McCall’s thesis explores the topic of immigration from the perspective
of the Basque people in
2002 Sheepherders used aspen trees as message boards.
This newspaper article, originally published in
1991 The Basques in
The Basque homeland is in the
1994 Sustaining Our
This report examines aspens’ role in the ecosystem. “
Weigand, Phil and Celia, Garcia de.
1995 Trails Among the Trees. Cañon
The Weigands are prominent researchers in the area of Basque dendroglyphs. Aspen dendroglyphs are usually in Spanish and were made by Basque-Americans. Many people believe that carving defaces the aspen, which is true, but Basque dendroglyphs have redeeming historical value:
Upon the aspens are written names, places and dates of birth, home towns and addresses, dates of inscriptions, longings, sayings, poems, wisecracks, drawings, political comments, and religious symbols which give us important insights into the lives of the penmen, insights unavailable through more conventional historical sources.
Aspens normally live about 80 years, but sometimes longer. Representing only a small phase of forest growth and easily scarred by elk and deer, aspen and their associated dendroglyphs are disappearing quickly.
Most inscriptions consist of a name and a date, but some also have self-portraits or other images. Certain names appear on many trees over an extended period of time and therefore it is possible to track the individual movements of people using dendroglyph recording and survey. Other dendroglyphs were used as guides (arrows pointing to encampments) or contained erotic imagery.
Woodward Architectural Group
1993 City of
This report was prepared for the Northern Arizona Pioneers Historical Society.
It gives a history of the Basque people in and around