Reward offered in case of plaques stolen from Basterretxea monument – EiTB Ingles Basques in boise
Reward offered in case of plaques stolen from Basterretxea monument – EiTB Ingles Basques in boise.
Plaques of a national monument put up in Reno to recall the many
Basque sheepherders who worked across the western plains of America
have been stolen, Basque News website Euskal Kazeta reported on
The five plaques, made of bronze, were engraved with the names of
hundreds of Basque sheepherders who immigrated to the United States.
According to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the theft of the
plaques occurred sometime between January 12 and January 17.
Investigators have not determined whether the placards were stolen to
be recycled for money or fenced to a collector, Deputy Armando Avina
told Euskal Kazeta.
The statue that was built in 1989 at the Rancho San Rafael Park as a
monument to the first Basques who lived and worked in Nevada and along
the western states of America. The statue, by acclaimed Basque artist
Nestor Basterretxea, depicts a shepherd carrying a lamb over his
shoulder under a full moon and was in dilapidated state.
In its day, the monument was significant in being the first such
project undertaken by the international Basque community. It was lead
by the non-profit Society of Basque Studies in America who sought
financial support from Basque officials in Europe for part of the
$350,000 needed to develop the memorial. The other half of the money
was donated by former sheepherders and their relatives. Since then,
many people have visited the site including a number of Basque
Over the years, however, due to a combination of weather and
vandalism, the statue had become increasingly shabby. It was scarred
by graffiti and often surrounded by rubbish. Part of the problem is
its isolated setting, on Peavine Mountain, but the location is also
integral to the piece, which is entitled Bakardade, or Solitude: “It’s
a rural setting and there were sheepherders there,” explains Professor
Carmelo Urza, a first generation Basque immigrant and author of a book
on the monument entitled Solitude.