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      Mallea II

Faculty and Staff

Joxe Mallea
Basque Researcher


1988 Ph.D. Basque Studies / History, University of Nevada, Reno. Dissertation: “Juan Zumarraga, First Bishop of México, and the Basques. The Ethnic Connection.”

1984 M.A. Latin American History, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

1964 B.A. Filosofía y Letras, Pius Mortara College, Oñati, Euskadi, Spain.

Areas of Expertise
Basque / Pyrenean history (of Spain and France).
Colonial Latin American history.
Western civilization: Medieval charters. Church history.
U.S. history: Sheepherding in the American West. Arborglyphs. Nevada History.
Languages: Euskara (Basque Language), Spanish, Latin, (Read & Comprehend French and other Romance Languages).

College-Level Experience
Basque Language instruction, University of Nevada, Reno, from 1985 to 1988.

Spanish Language instruction, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada, from 1987 to 1995. University of Nevada, Reno, 1988.

Natural History field trips and instruction: Sheepherding and Arborglyphs, Western Nevada Community College, Carson City, Nevada, 1994 to 1998; Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada, from 1998 to present.

Basque History I curriculum design and instruction, University of Nevada, Reno, from 1989 to present.

Periodic lectures on Basque history and culture at the Elderhostel and ElderCollege Conferences, Reno, Nevada, from 1987 to present.

Basque History directed readings, University of Nevada, Reno, 1994 to 1997.

History of Latin American Cultures, History 227, curriculum design and instruction, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada, from 1995 to present.

Western Traditions 201 and 202 instruction, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada, from 1995 to 1997, and 1999-2000.

Nevada History, History 217 instruction, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada, Spring 1998 to present.

Humanities 101 instruction, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada, Spring 1996 to fall 1998.

Work Experience Highlights
Cooperated in and coordinated the Improvised Poetry Meet of two Basque bertsolaris invited by the Western Folklife Center (Cowboy Poetry Organization), Elko, Nevada, April 2000.

Guest lecturer in the Annual “Shooting the West” Photography Conference, Winnemucca, Nevada, March 2000.

Cooperated in and coordinated the successful completion of the restoration of Whiskey Creek Sheep Camp Between U.S.D.A. Tahoe National Forest and N.A.B.O., August 1999.

Guest lecturer at the “First Meeting of Arizona Basques,” Glendale, January 15, 1999.

Guest lecturer, geography class, University of Nevada, March 11, 1999.

Guest lecturer at the USDA Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Annual Conference, Winnemucca, Nevada, April 21, 1999.

Lectured at the California Archaeology Week, Donner Memorial Park, Truckee, California, May 11, 1999.

Guest lecturer at the opening ceremony of the 33 Euskal Liburu Azoka (33rd Annual Fair of the Basque Book), Durango, Bizkaia, Spain, December 1998.

Guest lecturer at the II International Conference “The Basques in the Mexican Regions. 16th-20th Centuries,” December 1995, Reno, Nevada.

Lectured on Basque History at the “Celebration of Diversity” Event, Nevada City, California, May 1995.

Guest lecturer at the I International Conference of “The Basques in the Mexican Regions: Sixteenth-Twentieth Centuries,” December 1994, Jalapa, Mexico.

Lectured on Basque Mythology to Alpha Delta Kappa Chapter, Reno, Nevada, October 1994.

Lectured on “Tree Carvings of Nevada and California” at the Sierra County Historical Society, Truckee, California, July 1993.

Guest lecturer at Basque Cultural Day in San Francisco, California, October 9, 1993.

Lectured on Basque history to the Newcomers’ Club, Reno, Nevada, May 1993.

Guest lecturer of anthropological and ethnic courses at the University of Nevada, Reno, 1992.

Guest lecturer for the AM-ARCS of Nevada monthly speaker, Reno, Nevada, January, 1991.

Lectured on “The Basques of Europe and of America” at the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum, Lodi, California, March 26, 1990.

Lectured on “Juan Zumarraga, Patriarch of the Basque Colony in México” at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1985.

Offered many slide presentations of “Aspen Carvings” to a variety of civic organizations and primary-school children of the Reno-Sparks area, Nevada, from 1988 to present.

Frequent presentations on sheepherding history in the western U.S. to many local, state, and national groups such as the National Weights and Measures Organization, Nevada Historical Society, Washoe County School District librarians, the Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA Forest Service in Nevada and California.

Critical reader and translation reviewer of manuscripts for the University of Nevada Press, 1993 to present.

Wrote two publishers of textbooks offering ideas and corrections regarding some of the statements in their textbooks and one responded and nominated me a reviewer.

Zenbat Gara Dancers, University of Nevada, Reno, 1989 to present.

Member of the Ethnic Board Committee, University of Nevada, Reno, 1992 to 1994.

Volunteer mentor, TMCC, 1997 and 1998.

Co-coordinated the II International Conference “The Basques in the Mexican Regions. 16th-20th Centuries,” Reno, Nevada, December 1995.

Planned, managed, and taught basic skills (speech, reading, math, banking, socializing) to handicapped adults at a community-based residence in Crete, Nebraska, from 1979 to 1984.

Editor / Director
Edited, directed, and published two periodicals in Onati, Spain, 1963 and 1964.

Promoted, implemented, and conducted weekly Basque-radio programs in Elko and Winnemucca, Nevada, from 1968 to 1971.

[In press] Speaking Through the Aspens: Basque Tree Carvings in California and Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2000.

“The Power of Nothing: The Life and Adventures of Ignacio ‘Idaho’ Urrutia.” Susanville, California: Idaho Grocery, Inc., 2000.

“The Basque Arborglyphs in Nevada and California and Their Possible Origin,” in Los Vascos en las regiones de México siglos XVI-XX, Volume I, Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 1996.

“Los valores étnicos en la figura de Juan Zumarraga, primer obispo de México,” in Los Vascos en las regiones de México siglos XVI-XX, Volume II, Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 1996.

Amerikako euskaldun artzainen lertxumarrak (The aspen carvings of the Basque sheepherders in America). In press, Basque Government, Euskadi, Spain.

“The Basque Connection.” Sierra Heritage 13, 2 (September / October 1993).

“Mexicoko lehen euskaldun meatzariak” (The first Basque miners in Mexico). In Origen de la comunidad vasca en México (Getxo-Gernika: Harriluze, Euskadi, Spain, 1993).

“The Private World of Juan Zumarraga, Bishop of Mexico.” Revista de Historia de América 114 (1992).

“Basque Aspen Carvings: History Growing on Trees,” Nevada Historical Preservation Quarterly 35, 1 (Spring 1992).

Antso Gartzia Larrazabal, Euskal Herriko Lehen “Indianoa,” Swing Durango Aldizkaria. III.urtea. 26.zenbakia (1992).

“Antso Gartzia Larrazabal (1489?-1554?), Euskal Herriko lehen indianoa” Society of Basque Studies in America XI-XII (1991-1992).

“Indioek ala bakeroek hil zituzten Nevadako hiru euskaldunak?” Argia, 1 (337) (1991).

“Zumarraga apezpikuaren gutuna Urti Abendainori 1547n idatzia” (Letter of Bishop Zumarraga to Urti Abendaino, written in 1547; unpublished documents on the first bishop of Mexico). Euskera 34 (1989).

”Lertxun marrak. Gure artzainen arte bakana Estatu Batuetan” (Aspen Carvings. The exotic art of the sheepherders in the United States). Elhuyar 29 (1989).

Wrote articles in the Basque language from 1964 to 1992 for European magazines, such as Zeruko Argia (a weekly), Euskera (the official periodical of the Academy of the Basque Language), Elhuyar (periodical on science and technology), and Durango.

Submitted Manuscripts
Bertsolariak: Basque Improvisational Poetry in the Western United States, University of Nevada, Reno.

Juan Zumarraga, Mexicoko Apezpikua ta euskaldunak (Juan Zumarraga, Bishop of Mexico and the Basques) based on my Ph.D. dissertation, bilingual edition, approved for publication by the Basque Government of Euskadi.

Twelve grants from various state and federal agencies and the Basque Government of Euskadi, since 1989.

Video Production and Exhibits
Consultant, “Basque Tree Carvings,” shown on The Nevada Experience, KNPB Channel-5, Reno (Nevada), February 1990.

Executive Producer and Director, “Basque Aspen Carving Legacy in Nevada,” 21 minute video, October 1992.

Consultant and participant, “Urrearen irrika” (Thirst for gold), Basque Television Channels 1 & 2, Euskadi, Spain, 1993.

Photographic Exhibit “Tree Carvings in Nevada and California,” Baigorry, Aquitaine, France, 1993.

Photographic Exhibit “Sheepherders in the American West,” Euskal Museua, Bilbo, Euskadi, Spain, 1994-1995.

Consultant to the exhibit “Basques in the High Desert of the American West,” High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon.

Recent Activities
Since 1988 I have been heavily involved in documenting the history of sheep business in Nevada and eastern California, with several research trips to the mountain ranges of Oregon and Idaho. Arborglyphs are a neglected but fundamental aspect of this history of which I have videotaped and photographed more than 15,000 aspen carvings. My goal is to record a sample of the tree carvings in eleven states of the American West.

Another facet of the research entails identifying and recording on video the forgotten or abandoned sheep camps, bread ovens, and harri mutil (cairn-like piles of stone used as range markers).

Collaborated with Tahoe National Forest of California, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Nevada State Historic Preservation and Archaeology, and the Bureau of Land Management to set up a common system for collecting, interpreting, storing, and disseminating arborglyphs. More recently the Office of Historic Preservation and Archaeology of the State of California joined in the efforts. The newly developed Supplemental IMACS Form for the recording of aspen carving sites is the result of these joint efforts.

An integral part of arborglyph research is the computer database of every carving recorded, totaling so far over 12,000 entries. A Dictionary of every word carved on trees is being compiled along with the database.

Collaborated with the Archaeology Department of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit in drafting a “Pilot Project,” which will use tree carving information for the study and management of the forest ecosystem.

Collaborated with archaeologists and forest historians of Tahoe National Forest, California, Truckee Ranger District, in securing federal protection for the historically-significant Whiskey Creek Sheep Camp, located in the Granite Chief Wilderness, California.

Directed the rebuilding of a historic bread oven at the old Wheeler’s Sheep Camp, Tahoe National Forest, Sierraville District, California, now part of the designated Kyburz Flat Interpretative Area, 1993.

Served as consultant and instructor for Passport in Time Project, Elko County, Nevada, July 1997 (Twenty-two volunteer archaeologists, historians and students from across the country camped in the Jarbidge Mountains to record arborglyphs).

Helped coordinate various civic groups and Tahoe National Forest and stabilized and rebuilt historical sheep camp at Whiskey Creek, Granite Chief Wilderness, California, August 1997 and July 1999.

In the recent years, as news of the significance of the arborglyphs gains momentum, part of my time has been devoted to advising the federal archaeologists and forest historians who call regarding sheepherder activity in their local districts. The latest agency to recognize the aspen carving resource on Steens Mountain is the BLM office in Burns, Oregon. Time is also allotted to writing letters of encouragement to officials who have not started recording this perishable resorce.

Positions Held
Part-Time Instructor of History at Truckee Meadows.
Adjunct faculty position at the Basque Studies Program, University of Nevada, Reno.


Copyright © 2000 the Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno. All rights reserved. Updated 28 June 2000. E-mail: