North American Basque Organizations
  A federation of organizations to sustain BASQUE culture


  Izan ziralako, gara, eta garalako izango dira  
"Because they were, we are, and because we are they will be"
  Home    Euskara    Basque Govt.    Bulletin Board    Astero    Members    Meeting    FAQ   Calendar    Contact    SITEMAP

Eguberri eta
Urte Berri On!

Merry Christmas &
Happy New Year!

Feliz Navidad y
Prospero A
ño Nuevo!

Joyeux No
ël et
Bonne Ann




BIZI EMANKORRA: Lifetime Contribution


Bizi Emankorra nomination form


2008 recipients:

Francois Pedeflous

Leadership role: past NABO President

Francois Pedeflous has not only been an active member in NABO but also in the Los Banos, Fresno and KCBC Basque Clubs.  He had always been a strong supporter in pelota, generously donated many hours of hard work in promoting the sport as well as monetary donations. While being the NABO Pelota Chairman, Francois Pedeflous was very instrumental in the formation of the United States Federation of Pelota which was established on March 20, 1982 in Miami, Florida.

Proud of his Basque heritage, Frank spent most of his adult life promoting and preserving Basque culture. 

He served in various leadership positions in the Los Banos and Frenso Basque Clubs, and as NABO President from 1981--83.  He was also instrumental in keeping pilota (Basque handball) going, serving in various capacities on the national and international levels.

Frank was well known for his dedication to his family and friends, his drive and courage in business, his love of food and wine, his black beret, and his passion for baseball! 

As a new immigrant to the United States, he learned to read and write English by reading Boxing Ring Magazine, and he proudly became a US citizen in 1955.  He also enjoyed hunting, playing Mus and visiting friends and relatives throughout the Basque-American community and Euskal Herria.



Jean Leon Iribarren

Leadership role: Past NABO President & Treasurer

Jean-Leon Iribarren attended the first organizational meeting held to establish what we now call NABO. He was a delegate to NABO from the San Francisco Basque Club for several years, and then served as NABO President 1987-90; previous to that he served as NABO's treasurer 1Tr983-87.

In 1967-1968, he served as president of San Francisco Basque Club, and 1974-80, 1983-87,  was treasurer. In 1978, he was key in organizing the 1978 NABO convention, which also hosted San Francisco's first international mus card game tournament. Around this time, he also helped organize the first  Basque Music summer camp, still popular to this day as Udaleku.

In the SF Basque Club's earlier years, he was amongst those who were involved in the early land acquisition in the south bay, which was planned as the site for  future Basque picnics which had grown in popularity. Despite his ambitions, it’s failed attempted, provided the spark for the creation of a local Euskal Etxea. In the early 1980s, he was part of an entrepreneurial few who recruited participants in the private financing of what is the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center. NABO was in full swing, and its vision attracted much of his efforts. Between 1983 and 1987 he served as treasurer, and 1987-90 as president. He remained active in all of these organizations until his untimely death in 1993. 

Jean-Leon Iribarren was an exceptional man who always responded to requests for help from individuals and organizations. He will be remembered as a leader, educator, motivator, and mediator who influenced many of his peers. The success of these Basque organizations is a great memory to his legacy.

2007 Recipient:
Jacques Unhassobiscay. Jacques Unhassobiscay
His vision for NABO was widespread. He saw NABO as the necessary vehicle to unify small and large Basque clubs so that together they could promote Basque culture.
     Jacques was the 3rd  president of NABO, and during his term he attended as many Basque club functions throughout the western US as possible. At these functions, he would promote NABO and educate members and clubs as to what NABO was about and what its role and significance was in relation to the promotion of Basque culture. He felt that NABO was a tool for future Basque generations, from nationwide locations, to enable each other to interact together at activities and functions that NABO would sponsor. During these formative years of NABO getting Basque clubs to join was a serious challenge.  During his term as president NABO initiated popular events, such as the NABO pilota tournament, that enticed clubs to join NABO.  With his persistence and going beyond the call of duties of president, NABO’s club membership nearly tripled during Jacques’ tenure as NABO president.
    His vision strongly impacted Basque culture in the US and enabled NABO to grow in membership.
     In 1978 NABO sponsored a pilota team, which competed in the world tournament in Biarritz.  With Jacques’ assistance this led to the formation of the United States Federation of Pilota, for whom Jacques served as inaugural president.  He returned to Euskal Herria in 1984 and started a farming business.  This gave him the opportunity to enjoy his first love – the euskal herriko mendiak. (Pyrenees mountains) 
    Jacques passed away in 2002 in a farming accident in the Basque Country.  He is survived by his wife Dorothy and his three children, Marc, Daniel and Jacqueline.



2006 Recipients

Grace Mainvil

Grace was born in San Juan Capistrano, California in 1934. She is the daughter of Basque immigrants who settled in California. Her father, Jean Pierre Lacouague, arrived in San Juan Capistrano, California from Ainhoa, Lapurdi in 1910. Her mother, Bonifacia Mujica, came to Fullerton, California in 1912 from Maya in the Baztan Valley of Nafarroa. Grace spent her early years on her parent’s ranch where she grew up with traditional Basque life and culture. After marrying John Mainvil in 1959, they settled in Riverside, Califormia.  Where they were involved in the Southern Californian Basque community of Chino. In 1972, they moved with their four daughters to Weiser, Idaho. After retirement, they moved in 2002 to Eagle, Idaho where they currently reside. 

She was selected to be Ontario’s N.A.B.O. delegate in 1982.  Because of her desire and passion to contribute to Basque culture, she has represented Ontario at N.A.B.O. for over 20 years.  Through the enthusiastic and detailed N.A.B.O. reports that Grace gives at the Ontario meetings, it is evident that she truly believes in and is dedicated to the mission of N.A.B.O.. 

In 1987 Grace was elected to the office of N.A.B.O. Treasurer, a position of great responsibility that she has retained for many years.  Always looking out for the best interests of our federation, Grace has done a thorough and impeccable job in this office.  She pursues with equal vigor matters of cents and those of thousands of dollars.  Her professional attitude and detailed treasurer’s reports reflect her dedication to our organization.  For eighteen years Grace has provided continuity at the head table at N.A.B.O. meetings. Over the years many presidents have come and gone while Grace has quietly served as our trusty anchor.  She has become an invaluable resource for all of us regarding our collective past.

In 2003, Grace was chosen to represent N.A.B.O. at the Third World Congress on Basque Communities held in Gasteiz, Araba. She was an ideal ambassador for our federation because of her in-depth knowledge of N.A.B.O., her interest in Basque culture worldwide, and her friendly manner and ease of communication with other participants.  Her life-long passion to be involved in and promote Basque culture in communities surrounding her makes her a strong candidate for this honor.  Above all, however, we felt that Grace deserves this award because she truly embodies the ideals of N.A.B.O..   

In her quiet way, Grace has played an indispensable role in helping N.A.B.O. fulfill its mission.  She has done this directly by serving as treasurer for nearly two decades and indirectly through her work for Ontario, Oregon Basque Club, representing our views at the N.A.B.O. level. She is committed to the success of N.A.B.O. and works with all member clubs whenever they need assistance.

Pierre Etcharren

Pierre was one of the founding members of both the San Francisco Basque Club and Basque Cultural center.  Because of his experience with Basque dance in Euskal Herria, he instructed and directed the San Francisco dance groups for over 25 years.  His passion in this area moved him to start Udaleku (formerly know as Music Camp).  The first Udaleku took place in three phases, hosted in Boise, Reno and San Francisco.  Pierre worked to bring the first dance and txistu teachers – Jon Onatibia, from Oyarzun, and Luis Manuel Mentxaka.  He has also helped organize this event the numerous times it has be hosted in San Francisco.  He still believes that Udaleku is one of NABO’s finest accomplishments, and works to keep its high standards.

Pierre was the founder of the International Mus Tournament of the world’s Basque communities.  In 1978 he traveled with the NABO Mus winners to the Basque Country, where he had made connections and had arranged to have them participate in an existing regional tournament held in Ascain between France and San Sebastian.  Under his vision, he took this small tournament and in 1979 in San Francisco transformed it into a truly international championship with participation of 7 countries.  This tournament has been held every year since then, and includes participation of all the world Basque communities.  In 2003 he was chosen as the recipient of the Mus Lifetime Achievement Award from the Basque Mus Communities in Argentina.  The award itself was presented to him in Acapulco, Mexico in 2004 by Manuelo Arriola of Argentina.

Pierre felt it was important that NABO member clubs participate in some fashion, either with dance group, klika, pelotari, wood chopping, or singing, at the annual conventions.  With Pierre as Chairman, and the help of the San Francisco Basque Club, the 1979 convention in San Francisco was a realization of this dream. It was the first time all NABO dance groups and klikas were present.  Also present at the convention was Udaleku and the first International Mus Tournament.

Pierre served as NABO President from 2000-2004, and represented NABO at the 2000 Semana Vasca in Necochea, Argentina and gave a presentation on the NABO Udaleku program.  In 2002 he was invited to Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba by President Ibarretxe to give a report on NABO’s cultural activities.  He took that opportunity to convince the Basque Government to change the dates of the Gaztemundu program and 2003 World Congress of Basque Collectives to July so that there could be greater participation by NABO members.  By invitation of President Ibarretxe, he attended the 2003 World Congress.

His persistence and countless volunteer hours have helped NABO become the well respected organization that it is today. 



2005 Recipients

Aita Jean-Pierre Cachenaut

In the early years of N. A. B. O. Father Cachenaut was a binding agent, an ambassador throughout the Western states and Euskal Herria for 
N. A. B. O. He knew no stranger; he crossed all dialectal and provincial borders to make everyone welcome in his realm. Just his warmth and strong handshake made you feel apart of his world. He blended the ecclesiastical with being Basque well. He was never too heavy on either.

There isn’t a Basque in the western US that has contacts in Euskal Herria that Father doesn’t know. Whether you are in the U. S. or in E. H. with a couple of phone calls by Father can locate someone here or there. There wasn’t a N. A. B. O. convention that you didn’t see Father and even after his 10+ years stay here he brought groups from E. H. to N. A. B. O. functions. He also helps people and groups while they are in E. H. He helped the Spring Creek Nevada Band and Choir back in the year 2000 put on performances in Bayonne that were well received. He was there for the Boise Biotzetik Choir when they needed him too.

Remember a wedding, baptism, funeral, festival or other function he was at here or in Euskal Herria? There are many to think of, all the miles he drove just to be at each of our special days. He is always so uplifting, energetic, and pleasant to be around. 


Miguel "Mike" Olano

Mike was born in Busturia, Bizkaia, in 1923 and came to the U.S. in 1948, after completing military service in Africa. He started out as a sheepherder in Yakima Washington, and after pursuing different job interests in various western states, he finally ended up in Winnemucca where he purchased the Winnemucca Hotel with his partner, Claudio Aguirre in 1963. 

According to Mike it was his idea to buy the hotel, “so we bought it having never sold a “high-ball” before, not even whiskey.” In 1971, he bought his partner out and continues to be the sole owner today.

Mike Olano has been a member of the Euskaldunak Danak Bat Basque Club for over 40 years, serving in several capacities: 8 Years as Club President, 8 Years as Vice-President.  Mike was a NABO delegate for 25 years, just recently stepping down due to health reasons.  Mike was the first person to incorporate wood chopping and weight lifting in the Winnemucca Festival.  One of Mike's proudest moments was serving as Parade Marshal at the Winnemucca Festival.  Since arriving in Winnemucca in 1963, Mike has been the "Good Will Ambassador" for Euskaldunak Danak Bat Basque Club and the entire Basque Community in Norhern Nevada. 


2004 Recipients

Jesus Pedroarena

Frances Pedroarena


2003 Recipients

Bob Echeverria

Robert L. "Bob" Echeverria, born in Winnemucca, Nevada 3-10-42 to Pablo and Carol Bullis Echeverria

Amuma: Sinforosa Malaxechevarria Gabiola, Amoroto, 1878

Aitxitxe:   Venturo "Ben" Echeverria, Ispaster 1879


K-12 Humboldt County Schools,  1966 BS Education , UNR,   1987 AA Corrections,NNCC,  1994 Masters of Education, UNR


Commissioned a 2nd Lt. upon graduation from UNR in 1966, served in US Army Infentry in Alaska, Vietnam and Olkahoma, decorations among others are:  Silver Star,  Bronze Star,  Vietnamese Cross of Gallentry and the Combat Infantry Badge.


Separated service in 1970, as a Captain, returned to  live in Reno with wife  Cheryl and three boys; Timothy Paul, Patrick Mateo and Dominic Jon. Moved to Elko in 1973 and finally connected with an organized Basque community through the Elko Basque Club. All my sons did the Basque Dancing and the NABO Music Camps, all speak some Spanish and one is fluent in Basque. None of these things were around when I was growing up and no Basque was spoken in my home except with some visitiors.  I am the proud Aitxitxe of 7 grand children.


Moved to Elko in 1973, worked 28 years at the Nevada Youth training Center as a teacher of Social Studies, move to the Elko County School District in 2001 where I remain as a teacher of the Alternative School for the district, grades 6-11, sort of a "one-room" school for students "at-risk".


Have been an active member of the Elko Basque Club since 1973, served as President for 7 years and on the Board of Directors and NABO Delegate for most of the years between,   I served as NABO President for 7 years and for the past three have been an active Vice-President.


Even though I do not speak Basque or Spanish I feel that I am Basque where it counts "in the heart" and "in service to the culture"...I was blessed with great support for my years as NABO President and was honored to represent NABO in the following ways:

    1993-1995...Consulant to the project "Amerikanuak! Basques in the High Desert"

    1994............Meeting in Washington DC for the American Basque Foundation

    1995............Delegate to the 1st World Basque Congress in Victoria-Gatize

    1996............Meeting in Washington DC for the American Basque Foundation

    1997............Argentina for their National Basque Festival in Rosiaro

    1999............Delegate to the 2nd World Basque Congress in Victoria-Gatize

    2000............To Chicago as for the design awards for "Bilbao, the Transformation of a City"

    2000............Delegate to the 2nd American Congress, Nechochea, Argentina

Luis Manuel Pe-Mentxaka

Luis-Manuel Pe-Mentxaka y Herrán

Nací en Barcelona el año 1.948, de familia basca nacidos en Bilbao.

Mis padres eran Manuel Pe Mentxaka y Margarita Mª Herrán Otaduy

Estoy casado con Rosa María,Fernández Pando ( 1.980 ), a la que conoceis algunos de vosotros y tengo dos hijos Aitor  ( 21 ) y Asier ( 16 ).


Actualmente tengo mi estudio como arquitecto y trabajo como Arquitecto Tasodor Hipotecario ( Valoración de viviendas para la concesión de créditos  ) para BBK ( Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa ) y para la Caja de Ahorros de Navarra.


Me gradué como Arquitecto en la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid ( 1,980 ) y como Profesor de Piano en el Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid ( 1.970 )

En 1.971 obtuve el primer premio de composición de Canción Infantil de TVE.


Aunque toda mi vida la he desarrollado en Madrid, la educación que recibí de mis padres fué totalmente basca, desarrollando en mí todo al cariño hacia nuestra tierra Euzkadi.


El verano de 1.959, mi aita me compró en Bilbao un txistu y con un amigo de la familia, aprendí las primeras lecciones de txistu, que luego continué estudiando con un amigo de Madrid, Juan Jose Ugalde, de Gazteiz, que vivía en Madrid. Actualmente, seguimos tocando el txistu juntos en todas las ocasiones en que se nos llama para celebraciones en multitud de sitios, así como en radio, cine y televisión.


Durante los veranos, en los años 60 y 70, recorría Euzkadi, con los txistularis de Bilibao, y tocando en todos los alardes de tixtularis que se hacían por los pueblos con motivo de las fiestas patronales.


Soy socio fundador de la Sociedad "Euzkal Etxea " de Madrid, que nació como unión de todas las personas bascas que residíamos en Madrid, actuando como organista en la Misa de los Domingos así como tocando el txistu en todas las ocasiones en que se me llamaba.


Dimos una gira de conciertos, contratados por Radio Nacional con Kepa Junkera, por Holanda el año de 1.989.


Actualmente pertenezco, desde 1.984, año de su fundación, a un coro profesional dedicado a la investigación e interpretación del Canto Gregoriano, "Schola Antiqua", habiendo realizado varias grabaciones y dando conciertos por Europa y EEUU.


En esta asociación ( Euzkal Etxea ), conocí a Sabin Olaskoaga, contante del grupo "Los XEY", con el cual en muchas ocasiones hemos tocado el txistu y el acordeón conjuntamente. Su hija Anetxu, tuvo conocimiento en 1.979 de la muerte de Jon Oñatibia y recurrió a su padre para que buscase un txistulari par el Music Camp de ese año en San Francisco.

Cuando a mí me llamó Sabin, estaba en Israel y en Grecia en una gira de conciertos corales, con una coral de canto polifónico, de la que yo era el director.


Con la primera persona que yo hablé fué con Pier Etxarren y cuando me preguntó como nos reconoceríamos en el aeropuerto al llegar, le dije : Iré con Txapela, que es la cédula de identificación de un basco. No hubo ningún problema de identificación.


Posteriormente seguí asistienda a Music Camp en diferentes lugares : Fresno, Boise (varios veces ) Chino, Salt Lake City, Winnemuca, Backersfield, etc. hasta el año de 1.996 en que viajé a Music Camp por última vez.

( No sé si me olvido algún sitio )


Recuerdos de Music Camp: De todos los Music Camp, guardo un maravilloso recuerdo, ( partidas de mus, las clases, fiestas, picnics, bailes de musumé ) y sobre todo de las personas con las que tuve contacto y de todos los chavales,  los cuales creo que algunos se acuerdarán de mí.

Familias como : Elu, Etxarren, Inda, Anacabe (Franzoia), Beristain, Campos, Eiguren, Yzurza, Jausoro, Anes Mendiola, Pedeflous, Goitiandía,  Iribarren, Achurra, Sangroniz, Miller, Donahue (Megan ), Bidaurreta, Cendagorta, Better, Grupo Oinkari y otros muchos.

Seguro que me olvido de alguna y pido perdón por el olvido


Este es el mejor recuerdo que tengo de Music Camp, la amistad y el cariño con el que me recibisteis y me acogisteis en vuestras casas y que para mí han sido una de las experiencias mejores que he tenido en mi vida.

2002 Recipients

Martxel Tillous was born in 1934 in the Basque town of Eskiula in Xiberoa.  Following his calling he entered the priesthood and began work as a missionary for 26 years in Africa .  Returning to Europe he served four years as the Basque chaplain for the Basque community of Paris from where he came to the United States to serve as chaplain of Basque-Americans since 1994.


Aita Martxel is continuing in the footsteps of earlier Basque chaplains, and he continues to fulfill an important role in our Basque-American community.  His ministry as chaplain to the Basques of the United States has him criss-crossing the country averaging 60,000 miles a year!  He spends 200 nights a year sleeping in his van—with the license plate “Pottoka”—as he travels from his base in San Francisco , California to the scattered Basque communities of eleven states of the American West.  All of this to serve the spiritual needs of Basque-Americans—from celebrating mass in the Basque language to baptizing, marrying Basque couples and consoling us at funerals.


Our chaplain from Zuberoa is being recognized for both his spiritual and cultural contributions.  An avid txistulari, Aita Martxel is often seen and heard playing this ancient Basque flute (or its variation the xirula).  Since being here, he has served as the txistu instructor at NABOs annual Udaleku-Music Camp (Basque Cultural Summer Camp) for youth.  After a Basque picnic meal he is always there to join in a sing-along or to help encourage the formation of new Basque cultural venture.  He also started a newsletter (“Lokarria”) that goes out to thousands of Basque-American families and thus further assisting efforts to bring our community closer together.


NABO salutes Aita Martxel’s self-less dedication to his tasks and we consider ourselves fortunate to have been blessed with his presence among us.  Zorionak eta esker mila Aita Martxel!

Al Erguiaga was born in Boise , Idaho in 1935 to Tomás Erquiaga and Anita Echevarria.  He grew up immersed in the Basque community, where he learned to celebrate the culture and heritage around him.  When they were children on the family's farm in Meridian , his father taught Al and his sister, Alice, to dance by singing and clapping for them.  When he was old enough for Basque dancing lessons, his father enrolled him in Juanita "Jay" Hormaechea's class.  It took a while for Albert to feel comfortable dancing in the class, but he came to love Basque dancing after performing at several music festivals and other events.  Al went on to become a founding member of the Boise Oinkari Basque Dancers in 1960.  It soon became apparent that this was a man who not only dreamed big Basque visions but worked to make these dreams come true.  He went on to become a founding member of the Boise Bihotzetik choir, the originator of the first Jaialdi festival and first president of NABO.

What has this man not done is the question when it comes to the promotion of Basque culture.  His efforts transformed the Boise Basque community.  Today the Oinkari are synonymous with the city and the state; Jaialdi is the single largest Basque event in the nation and one of the largest outside of the Basque country itself.  The Bihoztik choir continues its proud tradition of Basque song and Al is always there lending support and his fine voice.  Al has certainly helped to positively transform the Boise Basque community, but then his pioneering efforts to create NABO also mark him as a man of broader vision as well; his efforts consolidated the creation of our national Basque club federation in 1973 that today serves as the reason we have all gathered together to celebrate.

NABO salutes Al for his vision and work to build places where we can come together to share and celebrate our Basque heritage.  Zorionak eta eskerrik asko Alberto!


Recreate + Educate = Perpetuate is the website of the North American Basque Organizations, Inc. (N.A.B.O.) a federation of organizations for the promotion of Basque culture. Helping to make this website possible is the Basque Autonomous Government of Euskadi.  Please send inquiries to  For links to all our pages on this website click on SITEMAP