Basque researcher to speak at Dangberg Home Ranch |

Basque researcher to speak at Dangberg Home Ranch

Staff Reports

Iker Saitua, a researcher of the history of Basque people in the United States, will present “Vital to the Industry: John B. Dangberg, Basque Immigrants, and Nevada’s Sheep Industry in World War II” at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

This lecture explores how John Dangberg, the second son of Dangberg Land & Live Stock Co. founder H. F. Dangberg, headed a group of Western woolgrowers to recruit Basque immigrants during the Second World War, when demand for all kinds of labor rose.

The lack of labor in the sheep industry became increasingly critical during the war. John Dangberg’s organizing efforts and leadership of a group of sheep ranchers of western Nevada were heavily directed at recruiting more Basque immigrants, despite the restrictive immigration laws. Much of those efforts were aimed at finding ways to get around those restrictions. As the war continued, sheep ranchers from Nevada and other western states continued an uphill battle to secure these Basque sheepherders.

Saitua is a Basque Government Postdoctoral Fellow in history at the University of California, Riverside. He received his PhD from University of Nevada, Reno in 2016. Later, he presented his dissertation at the University of the Basque Country in northern Spain, receiving summa cum laude honors.

Born and raised in the Basque Country, Saitua holds two PhD degrees, with specialties concerning immigration, labor, livestock grazing, international relations, and the American West. His work has focused largely on the intersections between agricultural labor, natural resources, and livestock raising. He is an expert on Basque immigration and the sheep industry of the West, and is the author of Basque Immigrants and Nevada’s Sheep Industry: Geopolitics and the Making of an Agricultural Workforce, 1880-1954 (University of Nevada Press, 2019).

The 2019 Dangberg Summer Festival is sponsored by Douglas County, Bently Heritage, Carson Valley Accounting, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, Dr. James the Dentist, Edward Jones Investments – Tim Cleveland, Horse Tales, Carson Valley Inn, Holiday Inn Express – Minden, Jacobs Family Berry Farm, Nevada State Bank and the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation.

This is a free event. Visitors should bring seating and no pets allowed – service animals only.

The Dangberg ranch house will be open for one hour before the events for anyone who would like an introduction to the Dangberg family history and the park’s artifact collection.

The full 2019 Dangberg Summer Festival event schedule is available at