The Question of Basque Indigeneity

The Basque have been called the “mystery people” of Europe, and after 2,000 years of assimilation, our survival defies all logic. We have our own way to address our identity; we call ourselves Euskaldunak (Basque language speakers). Our non-Indo-European language, Euskera, not only defines us as people, but shapes our cosmovision. Our worldview is imbedded in our Euskal Sena (Basque cultural instinct) and its connection to the land, the ancestors, and all our relations. The so-called Folk Religions across the world carry remnants of ancient pre-Christian pagan rituals that offer a window to ancient worldviews. In the Basque Country, these were carried on and very much believed until 1950’s and vestiges are still expressed to this day.  My dissertation analyzes the Indigenous animist rituals and belief systems carried through syncretism in rural Catholicism as shaped by our language. More broadly, my research focuses on the question of Basque Indigeneity as a case study that addresses what means to preserve an ancient language and have an ‘Indigenous’ mentality (or belief system) in a colonized modern world in the 21st century.

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