We are a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to uniting Colorado's Basques in order to preserve our heritage through educational opportunities and cultural exploration. We will accomplish this mission in cooperation through our membership in N.A.B.O. (North American Basque Organization, other Euskal Etxeak (Basque Centers) and the Eusko Jauelaritza (Basque Government).
Our Board of Directors
President - Mayi Petracek
Secretary - Vanessa Manjarrez
Treasurer - Nicole Lecumberry
Director - Joaquin Garcia
Webmaster - Jone Brunelle
A few of our past and present board members (left to right): Nicole, Joaquin, Mayi, Julio, and Mary
The Founding of Coloradoko Euskal Etxea
In the early and mid 20th century, Colorado was a popular immigration point for Basques coming to the American west. Basques settled many hours west of Denver in western slope towns like Grand Junction, Montrose, Fruita, and Telluride. If Basques were ever in Denver, they were most likely passing through the big city on their way to a ranching or agriculture community. Although Basques didn’t congregate in Denver during their historic immigration period, there are Basques in the Denver area now and they have been brought together through their common link.
In an unlikely place for a Colorado Basque club, Denver is the home of Colorado Euskal Etxea (CEE). Michael Matassa and Chris Suazo founded Colorado Euskal Etxea in the fall of 2003. Both Michael and Chris knew there must be many Basques living in and around Denver but didn’t have a common connection to each other like Basques living in other western states. Chris and Michael chose to place “Colorado” in the club’s name in hopes that the club would draw members from the existing Basque communities in other parts of the state. Although Basques from the Denver area make up a large percentage of the membership, there are members all over the state. Through word of mouth and the club’s online presence, the club continues to grow.
The members of Colorado Euskal Etxea have diverse connections with all parts of Euskal Herria. Some members are the children and grandchildren of Basque sheepherders while others can trace their ancestry hundreds of years back to the Basque Country. Some were born and raised in Euskal Herria while others have experienced Basques and are now enthusiasts. Some members have been speaking Euskara their whole life. Others are finally learning to speak their ancestor’s tongue.
Though our club is relatively small and we do not have an actual etxea (house) to call our own, we work to be quite active in terms of cultural and social events. Annual events include a summer picnic “Mendiko Jaia”, a fall "Akelarre" and membership meeting, a winter holiday party “Gabon Jaia”, and a pintxos party and competition in the spring. Other occasional cultural events take place as opportunities arise. Our club offers Euskara lessons for both adults and children. For more information about Colorado Euskal Etxea or to become a member, please see our membership page.