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This is the rubric under which we report recent, current, and upcoming activities. "News" contrasts with community cultural history, found by clicking on communities located on the Map, French Heritage in the Midwest of the United States:Map 1 The Red River Valley of the North and North Dakota. "News" is now, whereas Community information is more historical in orientation. So, voilà des actualités (here's some news). Don't forget, by the way, that you can switch to French any time on this site.

Midwest French Festival and Convention
October 7 & 8, 2011
Moorhead and Fargo
And registration information
Please register at your earliest convenience by calling 218-284-3400.

Friday October 7
11:00 – 4:00 pm

Tim and Dore Kent: History Alive: French-Metis Family Life of the 17th Century (Fur trade history: daily life, clothing, tools, transportation) by two of the best known experts on the topic.

Location: Knutson Campus Center (Concordia College, 901 8th St. S. Moorhead, MN)
To register call 218 284-3300 for one of the following sessions. No fee. Free and open to the public.

Friday October 7
6 pm

Midwest French Festival Banquet

A festival banquet of fine food, The Nor(s)man history theater group, prizes and more.

Location: Sons of Norway Restaurant and Lodge 722 2nd Ave. N. Fargo, ND


Hors d'oeuvres
Raspberry - sherbet punch
Veggie and Relish Tray with dip Petit
Croissant (egg salade, ham slice, turkey)


  Tossed salade  (dressings on table)   
  Turkey and dressing
   Potatoes and gravy
   Green beans and corn
   Dinner rolls and coffee

   Ice cream à volonté
   Served on an apple crisp nut square, topped with pure Quebec maple syrup

Dinner Program
   Hostess for the evening: Evelyn Landis, Inkster, ND
   Blessing:  Gabriel Dufault, Winnipeg Manitoba
   Short skit on Norwegian - French - Fargo Connection
   Welcome by Merle Boucher and Myron Senechal
   French songs with Dave Bezotte and Dan Truckey, Marquette, MI
   Welcome by Virgil Benoit, Director of IFMidwest

Midwest French Convention
Saturday October 8.

LOCATION: Richard H. Barry Hall 811 2nd Ave. N. Fargo [NDSU down town campus]

8:00-8:45  Register at the Main Entrance or pick up your packet if you registered early
8:40           Dr. Jeanne Hageman.  Welcome to the North Dakota State University Campus
                    Concurrent presentations      Concurrent presentations      Concurrent presentations

Choose one

  1. Milan Kovacovic - Selection from his autobiography, life in Brittany, France (Room 126)
  2. Jane Peck - Shake a leg! Workshop of French and Metis dance (Room 118)
  3. Tim and Doree Kent - Relive metis history and all its beautiful material cultural! (Atrium)       
  1. Suzanne Thibert  & Rachel Dwyer - Two Fargo High French teachers give a basic lesson en français! (Room 118)
  2. Doree Kent - Appreciate this ongoing display and presentation of historical metis culture. Atrium
  3. Timothy Kent - Hear about Tim's multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the fur trade era. (This talk will go to 10:30) (Auditorium Room 140)
  1. Gabriel Dufault, Yves Labrèche, and Jocelyn Pambrun - The French-Canadian Metis spirit of today (Room 126)
  2. Dick Bernard - A reflection with the audience on the meaning of heritage (Room 118)
  3. Doree Kent - Appreciate this ongoing display and presentation of historical metis culture. (Atrium)


Location: Plains Art Museum 704 1st Ave. N. (Two blocks from Barry Hall) Available to those who registered early.

Includes: sandwich buffet, hummus spread, chips, almond caramel cake or raspberry tart, and beverage.

Welcome by Harmon Abrahamson, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences University of North Dakota

To register call 218 284-3400 by Monday October 3.

1:00 - 1:50
  1. Tim Pasch - Soirée Hommage à Louis Riel and Métis Fest: A Bilingual Photographic Journey (Room 126)     
  2. African Arts with Amoussa Koriko - A display of the drum as a driving sound in West African culture (Readings area, Second floor)
  3. Jane Peck - French and Metis in the Twin Cities? Indeed!
    (Room 120)
  4. Tim and Doree Kent - Appreciate this ongoing display and presentation of historical metis culture. (Atrium)
2:00 - 2:50
  1. Zacharie N. Petnkeu - Where do the boundaries between African fiction in film and African documentary lie? (Room 126)           
  2. Dan Truckey & Dave Bezotte - A heritage not Forgotten: French-Canadians in the Upper Peninsula (Room 120)
  3. Tim and Doree Kent - Appreciate this ongoing display and presentation of historical metis culture. (Atrium)

3:00 - 3:50

  1. Amoussa Koriko & Oniankpo Akindjo - Discovered: The Invisible Midwest Francopohones (Room 120)
  2. Evelyn Landis, Leo Beauchamp & Myron Senechal - Journeying into Franco-American Genealogy (Room 118)
  3. Virgil Benoit - A Wild Rice Franco-American Sense of Place (Room 126)
  4. Tim and Doree Kent - Appreciate this ongoing display and presentation of historical metis culture. (Atrium)
4:00 - 4:50

Plenary session           Plenary session                          Plenary session
Merle Boucher, moderator with the aid of an experienced panel
What does Initiatives in French do that is important enough to work for? (Auditorium, Room 140)

A campanion to the schedule of presentations

  1. Milan Kovacovic is Associate Professor of French at the University Minnesota at Duluth.
    His talk comes from his autobiography published in 2011. His recollections will take him back to his teacher in the one room school he attended in rural Normandie, France in the 1950s. Both English and French will be used in this informal talk.
  2. Jane Skinner Peck, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has researched, choreographed, and performed dance across the U.S., Canada, and France for twenty years. In the 1990s she founded Dance Revels Moving History. Her work is seen regularly at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota History Center, and museums, colleges, schools of Midwest America. In April, 2011 she wrote, directed and acted in "Bottineau Jig: Untold Tales of Early Minnesota".
  3. Tim and Doree kent, 2011 featured presenters at our annual convention are from Ossineke,
    Michigan. Together they are known for the dedicated manner in which they have paddled as family some 3,000 miles of canoe route across Canada and the U.S., and their meticulous portrayal of the fur trade. Tim has twice received the prestigious State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan, first for his Ft. Pontchartrain at Detroit work, and more recently for the Rendezvous at the  Straits volumes.
  4. Suzanne Thibert & Rachel Dwyer are French teachers from West Fargo High. They invite you to learn some basic French phrases and walk away from their session ready to challenge those in the hallway to a short conversation in French! If you think that can't be done, you don't know these two! You will hear English and French in this session.
  5. Timothy and Doree kent: See 3 above.
  6. Timothy and Doree kent: See 3 above.
  7. Gabriel Dufault, past president of the Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba and Yves Labrèche, professor, Université de Saint-Boniface. They may be joined by Jocelyn Pambrun. You will enjoy both English and French in their talk. The talk, "Les Métis canadien-français en pleine effervescence" will focus on the Métis of today as a group united in spirit as hardly ever before and a reflexion on the social context that is making it possible. Cette séance se portera sur l'esprit d'unité entre les Métis d'aujourd'hui  et sera accompagnée d'une réfléxion sur le contexte social qui favorise ce nouvel élan.
  8. Dick Bernard, former editor and publisher of Chez nous will reflect with the audience on the meaning of "Heritage". Dick's North Dakota French-Canadian roots are from the Oakwood, North Dakota area. He has spent 30 years studying and writing his family history as well as 20 years he spent with La Société Canadienne-française du Minnesota and Chez nous.
  9. Doree Kent: See 3 above.
  10. Tim Pasch, Assistant Professor of Communications, University of North Dakota. Tim will
    give an informal, well illustrated talk on two very popular public events that took place this past year. They are the Soirée: Hommage à Louis Riel and Métis Fest which he will review for their interest and content. Both English and French will be used in this session.
  11. Arts Arena consists of a group of African musicians and dansers who come together to celebrate the place of music and art in African life. In many ways their performance and instruction on the drum inform on how their music and art are part of a mobile memory carried with them to America.
  12. Jane Peck extends an invitation to recall how central French is to the Twin Cities. It is a presence she knows intimately. Vive l'Etat de "Etoile du Nord".
  13. Tim & Doree Kent: See 3 above.
  14. Zacharie N. Petnkeu, Assistant Professor of French Concordia College, Moorhead MN says he learned through experience of teaching African films that many American students
    do not easily make distinctions between African fiction and documentary. Yet, they do
    not experience such a challenge with Hollywood movies. Does intricacy students confront reflect Americans as a large audience? Where do the boundaries between African fiction and African documentary lie? He will address this issue by revisiting the aesthetics of film through the lens of a few film theorists and a limited corpus of African movies. Both English and French will be used in this presentation.
  15. Dan Truckey, Director Beaumier Heritage Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette and Dave Bezotte, Archivisite Michigan Technological University, Houghton team up to inform the Valley about the lives of many of our ancestors before they arrived here. Dan's latest exhibit at the Beaumier Heritage Center is entitled "Across the Border: Canadians in the Upper Peninsula".
  16. Tim and Doree Kent: See 3 above.
  17. Amoussa Koriko, Graduate Student University of North Dakota & Oniankpo Akindjo, French Instructor Concordia College. For the last two decades, large numbers of Africans from French-speaking countries have been entering the US every year. Who are they? What are their dreams and aspirations? Those are some of the questions that this presentation will address. Ces deux dernières décennies les Francophones Africains arrivent aux USA en grand nombre chaque année. Qui sont-ils ? Quels sont leurs rêves et aspirations ? Voilà quelques-unes des questions auxquelles cette présentation veut répondre.
  18. Evelyn Landis, Inkster, North Dakota, Leo Beauchamp, Walhalla, North Dakota, & Myron Senechal, Bismarck, North Dakota probably have a combined total of years spent on family genealogy to take them back to the beginnings of New France. In their session they will show how they have researched their families and enhanced their relationships to their families through discoveries made while participating in the IFMidwest summer heritage tour. Their final say: Enhance your family's knowledge; learn about your French Heritage through the IFMidwest Quebec Heritage Tour in 2012.
  19. Virgil Benoit, Professor of French, University of North Dakota. With video, audio, photos and interaction with the audience this presentation takes a look at Wild Rice, North Dakota as a Midwest Franco-American place of history, heritage, people, and home. Come with interest in heritage, photos, friends, books, family albums, whatever communicates your relationship to a place called Wild Rice, 14 miles south of Fargo, ND.
  20. Tim and Doree Kent: See 3 above.
  21. The plenary session with Merle Boucher. Experienced panel members taking a look at what makes or breaks an organization, even though it is established in a public institution. This session will be interactive and very important.


Saturday October 8, 2011

7:30 PM

Saturday October 8 [7:30 PM] Live concert by Le vent du nord, winner of the coveted Canadian JUNO Award for Best Roots and Traditional album in both 2004 and 2011, from Ville de Quebec/City. LOCATION: Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater 333 4th St. South Fargo ND

Le Vent du Nord has performed all across Canada, capturing its highest awards and honors for a modern traditional sound from Quebec that leaves no pair of shoes flat on the floor for long.They've been in 15 European countries. Later this October the group will be in Copenhagen (Denmark) for the biggest world music expo in the world where only 36 world music artists out of 750 proposalshave been invited to play. The players are Nicolas Boulerice, Olivier Demers, Simon Beaudry, and Réjean Brunet whose success has been rocketing since 2002. Together they are one of the most-loved Quebec folk groups throughout the world. Whether their music is from the traditional folk repertoire of Quebec, or original compositions, it is music of the here and now.

  • Nicolas Boulerice, master of the hurdy-gurdy
  • Olivier Demers, violinist, guitarist, plays chamber music, jazz and traditional music
  • Réjean Brunet, accordionist
  • Simon Beaudry, Traditional repertoire and songs from the great québécois songwriters
  • François Beausejour

These four talented singers / multi-instrumentalists will soon present their repertoire of music and French songs of Quebec in Grand Forks and Fargo. Magnificent vocal harmonies, sophisticated musical arrangements with an unmatched stage expereience are capturing audiences around the world. They will be in Grand Forks on October 6 and Fargo on October 8.

Donations make IFMidwest initiatives possible. For a donation of $20 contributors receive a copy of the current issue of IFMidwest magazine.

A donation of $20 allows the contributor the option to purchase additional magazines of that year for $8 plus $4 whenever sent by mail. Back issues sell for $12 plus $4 whenever sent by mail.

Issues of IFMidwest magazine available now are: 1) A Venture into Heritage. Vol. 1, Issue 1 Spring 2008 (English), 2) Racines et diaspora francophones au Midwest des Etats-Unis: l’Afrique. Vol. 2, numéro 1, printemps 2009: (French), 3. (English) Francophone Roots and Diaspora in the Midwest: Special Issue on Heritage. Vol. 2, Issue 2, Summer, 2009 (English) and 4) French Living Heritage in the Midwest: Special Issue on Living Herritage. Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring 2010.

T o view an electronic version of the current issue (French Living Heritage in the Midwest: Special Issue on Living Herritage. Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring 2010) click here. For electronic versions of past issues click the links below.

Racines et diaspora francophones au Midwest des Etats-Unis: l’Afrique. Vol. 2, numéro 1, printemps 2009

Francophone Roots and Diaspora in the Midwest: Special Issue on Heritage. Vol. 2, Issue 2, Summer, 2009


"Can't wait to see you all in Bismarck!"
To see a review of the 2010 conference please visit...
Note on 2011 conference
Members of the 2009 IF Midwest heritage tour at
café in Trois-Rivières, Québec

For more information call or e-mail Virgil Benoit at or call 701-777-4659



We are building a collection of photos. You may donate original photos of historic interest by contacting Virgil Benoit.  You may also give us permission to copy those photos that help communicate an understanding of French heritage. All materials join the French Heritage Collection in the Chester Fritz Library.  Virgil Benoit may be reached at:     Telephone: (701)777-4659.