TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
Tape 1 of 3
0:00-5:00 Old sheepherders did not think about pay, only concern was their job. The old herders
did their job at 100 percent nevertheless, would even ridicule boss if he performed at any
less than 100 percent. New herders were different, still competitive but concerned with
pay, not as dependable. Basque herders went extra mile when herding unlike Peruvian
herders. Old herders would save every penny, new herders not necessarily.
5:00-10:00 Bill passed in 1951 granting permanent residency to Basque herders. Many illegal herders
legalized due to bill. Herders would "jump ship" to herd.
10:00-15:00 Bill continued. Sheepherder bill was unusual at the time. Bill passed only for Basque
herders. Story concerning one Basque herder and how he worked and saved. Talk
concerning Taylor Grazing Act and its effect on Idaho and Basques. Act did not affect
those with base land.
15:00-20:00 Discussion of the Taylor Grazing Act continues. Basques who owned sheep would graze on
vacant land. Vacant land was open to whoever wanted to use it. Itinerant herding practiced since
turn of century. Pete gives an example of Basque sheepherders' ability.
20:00-25:00 No protection for ranchers in old days, drought or blizzard could wipe out herds. Today
protection for ranchers. Basques had strong character and would continue despite hard
times. Pete describes what it was like to grow up among Basque herders. Father came to
United States in 1907, mother came in 1914. Pete felt very secure growing up with the
herders. Basques knew their jobs well and had great confidence. Pete would watch the
herders play muz. Basques were men of character who were great workers.
25:00-30:00 Herders were very intelligent and men of initiative and perseverance. Many second
generation Basques did not continue with herding. Pete is unique case to stay with
herding. Pete enjoys every aspect of the sheep business. Basque herders would be able
to save every lamb, something Peruvian herders cannot do.
30:00-35:00 Herders would not initially have knowledge of sheep but would have perseverance. There was
no reason to do the job half-heartedly. Herders would have same mindset in other pursuits.
Basques would not waste anything and relished in working. Pete's mother raised chickens and
grew a garden to help supply sheep camp. Rough times did not deter Basques. Basque reputation
and personal reputation of Pete's father allowed his father to keep credit from bank in hard times.
35:00-40:00 Basques would belittle weakness. Basques would not tolerate someone not doing 100
percent. Basques are gossipy and cannot stand being talked about negatively for not
40:00-45:00 Sheep herding calendar. Sheep would be moved to sheds in winter due to snow levels in
Idaho. Winter would see the herders coming into town. No trucking in old days, had to
move bands manually. Talk concerning herding routes.
45:00-50:00 Sheep moved by rail to be sold. Talk concerning sheep herding routes. Sheep came back
in dry bands and would be herded together, less herders needed at this time so some were
laid off until next season.
50:00-60:00 Basques would fill boarding houses during lay off times. Pete learned muz from
workers in boarding houses. Sheep herding calendar has changed due to fewer sheep,
most moved to other states (California). Basque sheep herders were competitive, would not
spend money on liquor but hold contests of ability. Dangers faced by herders included
bears and sickness. Pete relates how bears would be caught and gives to examples of sick
NAMES AND PLACES
Bengoechea, Joe: Sheep herder, herd contained 100,000 sheep at peak.
Bengoechea: Herder who had diabetes.
Eguia, Juan: Example of herder who worked hard and saved money, lives in Guernica.
McCarran, Pat: Senator in Nevada who pushed Basque sheepherder bill.
Newman, Bill: Sheepherder
Bellevue, Hailey, Jerome, Ketchum, Middle Fork, Salmon, Shoshone, and Twin Falls: Examples of routes taken
by herders with their bands.
Tape 2 of 3
0:00-5:00 Discussion of Basque herders continued. History of Pete's career life. Pete attended
grades K-12 in Bellevue before moving back to Carey. Moved to Carey due to father buying
sheep ranch. Attended University of Idaho.
5:00-10:00 Studied agriculture and agriculture education while at University of Idaho. Graduated in
1940 and got job as teacher earning 105 dollars per month. 1940 Pete took Army Air Corps
tests and was encouraged to go to Lindbergh Field to enlist. Pete decided to continue to
teach and after one year gained ten dollar raise. Pete started agriculture classes and a
football program in Carey. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Pete chose to enlist rather
than be drafted.
10:00-15:00 Pete could not register with Army Air Corps due to schedule conflict so he joined the Navy
to be a Naval Aviator. After World War II Pete bought a surplus PT-26 airplane for 930
dollars. Planes were a rarity in Carey. After war Pete taught agriculture to veterans who
wanted to farm in Blaine County.
15:00-20:00 Pete starts political life with the House of Representatives. Story of how he won against
Mormon bishop. Pete continued in Congress for nine terms. Question posed as to
whether being Basque was help or hindrance. In younger days Basques were disliked.
20:00-25:00 Basques were considered a strange people with a strange language. Basques were a very
close-knit group in Bellevue. Basques over time became well liked and respected. Only
hindrance came from media at one time accusing him of favoritism towards hiring
25:00-30:00 Pete hired Basques due to high quality of work not due to ethnicity. The Basques he
hired were the best at what they did. John became very interested in the Spanish Civil
War. Studied much about the conflict between Franco and the Basques.
30:00-35:00 Countries in South America as well as around the world supported the Basque cause.
Basques came to Idaho from the Basque country to gain support and to get help for
Basques on trial. Pete took great interest in the oppressed Basques and acted, with others,
on the Basques’ behalf.
35:00-40:00 Pete sent flyers to Franco to help imprisoned Basques. Pete went to Washington for the
40:00-45:00 In 1972/3, Pete went to France to talk with Basque government in exile. Stories of time
spent with Basques. Tell of how Franco persecuted Basques and how he wrote to
congress on behalf of the Basques.
45:00-50:00 Pete with others put legislation into congress to help Basques in Spain. Went to Mexico
to talk with Basques also visited South America. Pete spoke on Radio Euskadi-
underground Basque radio.
50:00-55:00 Pete spoke about his legislation over Radio Euskadi. Others tried to expose the lies
Franco was trying to cover, especially Guernica.
55:00-60:00 Continuing story of Basque resistance and persecution. Possibility of CIA involvement.
ETA was not started as terrorist organization however Franco's persecution of Basques
forced ETA to violence. Pete supported ETA until the organization became terrorist.
NAMES AND PLACES
Bengoechea: Basque sheepherder, family Pete knows
Foster, Ed: Superintendent in Hailey years ago
Joe: Pete's son, studied in Basque country
Manzanas, Melitón: Franco’s police chief who persecuted many Basques; assassinated by ETA in San Sebastian
Petey, John: Senator, helped with legislation concerning Basques in Spain
Smallwood, Bill: Studied in Basque country, worked to expose truth about Franco's involvement with
Bellevue: Where Pete grew up
Colombia, France, Mexico, Venezuela, and Washington: Places Pete worked for Basque cause
Tape 3 of 3
0:00-5:00 Pete gave Basques in Spain advice concerning their involvement with Spanish government.
Basques are good people with strong character who can make great strides in Spain's
government. Pete has traveled to the Basque Country three times. Significant to Basque
community here to have Pete in office. Pete to meet with Basque delegation 6\10\93.
5:00-10:00 Pete involved with Basque art touring through the Northwest. If Basque country is lost
Basque culture will be lost. American Basques learning Basque language is seen as
outstanding achievement. Speculation as to why Basques here do not get involved in
politics concerning Basque country.
10:00-15:00 Idaho Statesman made comment at one time stating that America had forgotten Basques
and did not do enough for them. Pete was angered at this due to all he and others had
done. Pete gives examples of what Basque community had done in Idaho and Burns,
15:00-20:00 Basques in Oregon divided over sending money to the Basque country. Pete was
involved as neutral party. Story concerning Burns, Oregon Basque community
20:00-25:00 Pete involved with collecting money to send to Basque country. One night he was able to
collect over 800 dollars. Pete never had opposition from government concerning his
involvement with Basques in Spain. Very little criticism from Basque community here
by very few individuals. Senator Church helped Basque cause greatly by touring Basque
country and snubbing Spanish government.
25:00-30:00 Senator Church story continued. Pete considers himself both Basque and American. Pete
adds that thinking in Basque sometimes is easier and more expressive. Growing up in
close Basque community solidified as sense of being Basque. Pete feels that being from
good Basque stock is an advantage. Pete is always learning about Basque history, always
wants to learn more. Discussion of Basque language and its history.
NAMES AND PLACES
Ayarra, Dave: involved with Basque cause
Alvarez: Basque underground
Davis: From Mountain Home, helped with dispute in Oregon
Dorah, Jeff: Judge in Oregon
Pelobeitia: Basque representative to United States
Urbana, Gonzales: Recalde director
Zabala: Basque leader
Zelaya: Basque industrialist, Basque underground
Senator Frank Church: Helped Basque cause