Glad You Asked: Racine's native Indian tribes; More about ethanol

Glad You Asked: Racine's native Indian tribes; More about ethanol

  • 0

I'm curious which American Indian tribes have occupied parts of Racine County since the first arrival of Europeans on the continent. Can you help?

"Racine: Growth and Change in a Wisconsin County," a collaborative history of Racine County edited by Nicholas C. Burckel and published in 1977, deals extensively with American Indians and Racine County's history.

The first chapter of the book, written by Nelson Peter Ross, a former Chairman of the History Department at Carthage College, is entitled "Two Civilizations - Indians and Early White Settlement."

A section in that chapter is entitled "Indians and White Contact (A.D. 1650 to 1840)." The first paragraph of that section is the short answer to this question; it appears below.

"At some point prior to white contact in the mid-seventeenth century the Indians of the upper Great Lakes had divided into tribes or "nations." Two such tribes, both descendants of the ancient Woodland Indians and speakers of Algonkian languages, inhabited Racine County. Members of the Miami tribe lived in the Country during the later seventeenth century, and from about 1700 to 1840 the County was the home of the Potawatomi. The Miami lived in Racine County during the first period of the French fur trade. The Potawatomi of the county also took part in the fur trade with the French, then that of the British and finally that of the Americans. With the coming of American settlers, the Potawatomi lost Racine County along with the rest of their homeland in the region."

According to the book, the Miami migrated from Racine County and into southern Michigan and northern Indiana by about 1700, where they found it more advantageous to trade furs with the English.

The Potawatomi were shoved off their lands in southeast Wisconsin as a result of the Treaty of Chicago, dated Sept. 26, 2003. The United States government persuaded more than 70 Potawatomi chiefs to sign the document; Chief Caw-we-saut from the Racine-Kenosha area was among them.

And with that so-called treaty the Potawatomi ceded roughly five million acres in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois to the government, and took a similar amount of land in western Iowa.

I watched a news segment the other night on a local television station about E85 ethanol fuel and the flex fuel vehicles made to run on it. Since I have a car that can burn it, I would like to know if there are any local filling stations that carry E85?

E85 consists of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. It is usually cheaper than regular gasoline, it burns cleaner, supports U.S. farmers and reduces dependence on foreign oil.

It is also the subject of a General Motors public awareness campaign. GM's current "Live green, go yellow," campaign is designed to get drivers thinking about E85 instead of gasoline when their tanks need filling. "Green" refers to the environment and "yellow" represents corn, from which most ethanol is currently manufactured. It also involved GM giving yellow gas caps to vehicle owners whose cars can burn E85.

The price of E85 alone may make it attractive to owners of cars such as the GM Yukon, Ford Taurus or Chrysler Caravan; it's been steadily below the cost of regular gasoline by between 20 and 40 cents per gallon, and sometimes more.

But not in Racine. No gas station in the Belle City is yet equipped to dispense E85, and we know of none preparing to dispense E85.

Do two things if you want to try using E85.

First head to the Web site of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition - http: / / /index.php, and learn if your car is fit to burn ethanol. Click the tab marked "E85 Vehicles."

Since the late 1990s, in certain models, GM and other auto manufacturers have offered flexible-fuel engines which burn either gasoline or E85.

And then learn where you can buy ethanol. Click the tab marked "Find E85 Near You."

There are 23 outlets for ethanol in Wisconsin, according to the NEVC. The closest to Racine are three in Milwaukee, and the only one currently carrying ethanol is the Citgo at 425 E. Capitol Drive. E85 is not a magic bullet. More on that later.

What is Glad You Asked?

Glad You Asked finds answers to the questions that keep you up at night. Don't lose sleep. Send your questions to at or call (262) 631-1758.


Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alert

Breaking News