Barinaga Jr., Pete

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Pete was born on 15 January 1926 in Battle Mountain, Nevada, to Pedro Barinaga Sr. and Elvira Peña.  He recalls vividly his mother's description of her family's flight from Pancho Villa's regime in Mexico, as well as his father's immigration from Markina, Bizkaia.  Pete grew up speaking mostly Spanish at home, although his father often conversed with him in Basque.  He describes growing up during the Depression, including small schools (education had always been important for his parents) and hard times.

Once he finished school, Pete followed in his father's footsteps and began sheepherding.  He mentions a few dangerous trips he made in the dead of winter, as well as the people he met and skills he learned over the years.  Pete was drafted into the Korean War in 1950, but was sent to Austria to form a frontline against Russia, and had many interesting adventures there.  He began as a logger upon his return.

After a bad accident left Pete in a wheelchair, he returned to Boise to care for his parents.  He has observed the changes in the Boise Basque community closely since 1957, and shares some of his conclusions.  According to Pete, the culture here can't help but evolve, and he is interested to see how it will end up.  Pete considers himself foremost an American, but reserves a special respect for his Basque heritage, and for the immigrants who gave Idaho's Basque population such a great name.

Audio Recording: 
Parents Flee Mexico
Growing Up Multilingual
Herding Sheep in a Snowstorm
Other Images: