Studying the relationship between Icelander and Basque whalers in Reykjavik

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2015-04-20

The program to commemorate the fourth centenary of the massacre of Basque whalers in Iceland has already begun, suportted by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Government of Iceland and organized by the Etxepare Basque Institute, the Basque-Finnish Association, the Center for Basque Studies of the University of Nevada, Reno and the Barandiaran Chair of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The activities started last night with an excellent concert by the group Oreka TX in the theater Salurinn Concert Hall. In the recital, as well as offering their own repertoire,they also performed several songs with Icelandic musicians Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Páll Guðmundsson, who played the Icelandic stone harp: the sound of Basque txalapartas wood and stone merged with the sounds of Icelandic stone, to the surprise and delight of the audience.

Today, April 20, the international congress that analyzes different aspects of historical remembrance has started in the National Library of Iceland, with the participation of experts from all over the world. At the official opening, the head of the Library, Ingibjörg Steinunn Sverrisdóttir, former President of Iceland and UNESCO’s ambassador in defense of languages, has welcomed the visitors and has celebrated that a new edition of the translated manuscripts of Jon Laerdi of the year 1615 will be published, with versions in Basque, Castilian, English and Icelandic. In fact, as Xabier Irujo -codirector of the Center for Basque Studies- has explained later, that within the congress three new publications will be presented in order to disseminate the results of various investigations.

Hólmfríður Gardarsdóttir, director of The Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages, wanted to emphasize the importance of protecting linguistic diversity and researching as the keys to coexistence. Garazi Lopez de Etxezarreta, Director of Culture of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, thanked the work of those who are researching on marine-related jobs. She also wanted to congratulate the Icelandic people for the interpretation that have managed to make about the historical facts of the massacre of the Basque whalers, a great example of reconciliation. Meanwhile, Mari Jose Olaziregi, director of Basque Language and Universities of the Etxepare Basque Institute, explained the work of the Institute in the promotion and dissemination of Basque; in fact, two of the driving forces of the Congress are members of the network of readerships and professors of the Institute. Endorsing one of the main lines of the Strategic Agenda of Euskera, cooperation, a clear goal for the future of Etxepare is to work together with Iceland, a country -noted Olaziregi- that has managed to place the culture and language in the center of its development plan.

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The program to commemorate the fourth centenary of the massacre of Basque whalers in Iceland has already begun, suportted by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Government of Iceland and organized by the Etxepare Basque Institute, the Basque-Finnish Association, the Center for Basque Studies of the University of Nevada, Reno and the Barandiaran Chair of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The activities started last night with an excellent concert by the group Oreka TX in the theater Salurinn Concert Hall. In the recital, as well as offering their own repertoire,they also performed several songs with Icelandic musicians Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Páll Guðmundsson, who played the Icelandic stone harp: the sound of Basque txalapartas wood and stone merged with the sounds of Icelandic stone, to the surprise and delight of the audience.

Today, April 20, the international congress that analyzes different aspects of historical remembrance has started in the National Library of Iceland, with the participation of experts from all over the world. At the official opening, the head of the Library, Ingibjörg Steinunn Sverrisdóttir, former President of Iceland and UNESCO’s ambassador in defense of languages, has welcomed the visitors and has celebrated that a new edition of the translated manuscripts of Jon Laerdi of the year 1615 will be published, with versions in Basque, Castilian, English and Icelandic. In fact, as Xabier Irujo -codirector of the Center for Basque Studies- has explained later, that within the congress three new publications will be presented in order to disseminate the results of various investigations.

Hólmfríður Gardarsdóttir, director of The Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages, wanted to emphasize the importance of protecting linguistic diversity and researching as the keys to coexistence. Garazi Lopez de Etxezarreta, Director of Culture of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, thanked the work of those who are researching on marine-related jobs. She also wanted to congratulate the Icelandic people for the interpretation that have managed to make about the historical facts of the massacre of the Basque whalers, a great example of reconciliation. Meanwhile, Mari Jose Olaziregi, director of Basque Language and Universities of the Etxepare Basque Institute, explained the work of the Institute in the promotion and dissemination of Basque; in fact, two of the driving forces of the Congress are members of the network of readerships and professors of the Institute. Endorsing one of the main lines of the Strategic Agenda of Euskera, cooperation, a clear goal for the future of Etxepare is to work together with Iceland, a country -noted Olaziregi- that has managed to place the culture and language in the center of its development plan.

Hólmfríður Gardarsdóttir, director of The Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages, wanted to emphasize the importance of protecting linguistic diversity and researching as the keys to coexistence. Garazi Lopez de Etxezarreta, Director of Culture of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, thanked the work of those who are researching on marine-related jobs. She also wanted to congratulate the Icelandic people for the interpretation that have managed to make about the historical facts of the massacre of the Basque whalers, a great example of reconciliation. Meanwhile, Mari Jose Olaziregi, director of Basque Language and Universities of the Etxepare Basque Institute, explained the work of the Institute in the promotion and dissemination of Basque; in fact, two of the drivers of the Congress are members of the network of readerships and professors of the Institute. Endorsing one of the main lines of the Strategic Agenda of Euskera, cooperation, a clear goal for the future of Etxepare is to work together with Iceland, a country -noted Olaziregi- that has managed to place the culture and language in the center of its development plan.

Viola Miglio, who came to the Congress representing the Barandiaran Chair for Basque Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been responsible for closing introductions, being aware of the "responsibility" which means attending the event on behalf of the chair; she was satisfied with the increasing presence of Basque studies in international universities. Miglio has been working for several years with Xabier Irujo -who has stated that he began seven years ago- in the congress which opened today in Reykjiavik.

Archaeologist Ragnar Edvardsson (University of Iceland, Research Center of the West Fjords) has been in charge of opening the first lecture. The expert stressed that the relationship between Basque and Icelandic people was much more intense than previously was thought: lately they have discovered new fishing stations, and these investigations have revealed that the Basques spent more than 50 years in the Icelandic coast: "Future studies will have to prove the economic and social importance of the presence of Basque whalers in Iceland, and their cultural influence."

The conference continues today and tomorrow, and on April 22, a symbolic act of reconciliation between Basques and Icelanders will be held in the village of Holmavik, where Icelandic authorities will ask Gipuzkoa’s ones for forgiveness and a plaque will be placed to remember Basque whalers.

 

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