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A Basque shepherd named Joe Aguirre

Luistxo Fernandez 2006/02/27 15:19

I saw Brokeback Mountain this weekend. In the first part of the movie, there's a character named Joe Aguirre. We may think that he's a former shepherd that has prospered to become a herd owner.

I knew one Joe Aguirre, Basque shepherd in the US. Not in Wyoming, but in Idaho. He was a natural of Mallabia, the birthplace of my mother. My mother also grew among sheep: as a child, she usually watched after the herd, she told me that she new sheep by their faces, and that each one had a name for her. I suppose that Jose Agirre from Mallabia had also experience with sheep or cattle before embarking to the US. It is very possible that there he would be called Joe, as other emigrants named Jesus became Jess in the US.

Jose Agirre eventually left Idaho, and came back to the Basque Country. He was employed at my hometown Eibar, and afterwork, he earned some extra money teaching english. I was one of his pupils, that attended his lessons at his home.

Joe Aguirre from Brokeback Mountain is the bad guy in the film. The Jose Agirre that I know was a good man, though I don't know what he thinked about homosexuals.

Brokeback Mountain is a touching movie, a good one, about truth, love, being a man... I liked it very much. It isn't a movie about sheep or Basque immigration, certainly. But, well, I just recalled Jose Agirre watching it, and I suppose that if I have a blog in English right now, I owe it to him as well.

And regarding sheepherding in Wyoming... in 2005 a documentary was released, The Last Link, a feature about Pete Camino, a Basque shepherd born in Buffalo, Wyoming.

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Luistxo works in CodeSyntax, tweets as @Luistxo and tries to manage the automated newssite Niagarank. This Cemetery is part of a distributed multilingual blog (?!). These are the Basque and Spanish versions:

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