Glad you asked

I sent in a question to the local paper's question column, and they answered it on Thursday!

"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, [1833] .

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.

Cool! I'm going to have to find a copy of that book. Sounds like an interesting read!

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