What is the Bottineau Jig project?

by JanePeck on March 20, 2011

The Bottineau Jig Project is a look into the lives of the mixed blood families of early Minnesota- 1840s. These were people courageous enough to blend their lives with others whose heritage was radically different from their own. Their stories are mostly unknown, as they were not the ones left holding the power in their hands. Our goal in this project is to research and to share these unusual stories. It is a project of tolerance and shared community. The characters include:
Pierre Bottineau and wife Genevieve- Metis or French-Indian.
Marguerite Bonga, African Ojibwe.
Jacob Fahlstrom – first Swede in our state, was adopted by Ojibwe family.
Helen Sibley, Dakota-Anglo daughter of Henry Sibley.
Little Crow, Dakota leader
Henry Sibley, Yankee fur trader and then governor
Bottineau Jig Project events:

  • Two evening shows of Bottineau Jig: Untold Tales of Early MN– April 1 and 2, 7:30 pm Intermedia Arts Theater, Mpls. (see home page).


  • School matinee for Fifth Graders.
  • Two dance workshops on Metis and French-Canadian step dance- 3/12 and 3/26 (see earlier post) 1 pm-2:30, Tapestry Folkdance.
  • School workshops to prepare student audiences.
  • This Blog, which will describe each of these unique real characters from a time of tolerance in Minnesota’s past.
  • Forming partnerships with modern community groups who carry the ethnic heritage of these characters:

American Swedish Institute
Mn African American Museum
Alliance Francaise
Mendota Mdwakanton Dakota
IFMidwest and AFRAN
La Compagnie
MN Am. Assoc. of Teachers of French
Tapestry Folkdance Center
Sisters of St. Joseph- Wisdom Ways
And several historical societies:
Hennepin History Museum
Brooklyn Historical Society
MN Living History Society
Linden Hills History Study Group

Dance Revels Moving History wants to thank our partner organizations.  Working with some of these groups has been as interesting as learning about the original historic characters!  I will tell some of these stories in future blog posts.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana Folstrom May 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

As a direct descendent of Marguerite and Jacob Folstrom, I read this post about the Project with interest. There is no year date so I am not sure if this was recent or not. I would very interested if you are having another show. Thank you for telling my grandparents story, and of their significant place in Minnesota history.
Dana Folstrom
Palm Desert Ca.


Jane Peck June 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Hi Dana,
How wonderful to hear from a Fahlstrom descendent! I sent you a longer email by separate cover. I hope that we can find other descendents of our characters. Soon I will write a blog entry specifically on Jacob and Marguerite.
Jane Peck


Lisa Folstrom September 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

I too am a descendent of Jacob Fahlstrom. We are very proud of Jacob’s interesting life. Glad it is being told.


JanePeck September 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Hi Lisa,
I’m so glad you let us know! I hope you will be able to attend one of our fall 2014 performances of this show that we will remount in the upper Midwest.


Cindy Charlebois( Bottineau) July 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

Will Bottineau’s Jig going to be shown this fall?
Did you know a descendent of Pierre’s is Michael Forest AKA Gerald Charlebois who is an actor http://www.mikeforest.com/


JanePeck July 25, 2014 at 11:24 am

Hi Cindy,
This is so interesting! We have been trying to get funds to tour the show, as we had so many requests but not had any luck so far. We haven’t stopped trying, however! We may need to do a kickstarter campaign combined with grants. The original show has a cast of 14, each representing a different ethnic group or ethnic art form.
I did not know about Gerald Charlebois/Michael Forest. Is he located in the upper midwest? Hope we can remain in touch. I will try your email to do that. Thanks for connecting!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: