Talk:Indian Creek massacre

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Former good article Indian Creek massacre was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

GA review[edit]

The article passed the GA review, meets the whole criteria, the only thing it needs is a good copyedit. Thanks Jaranda wat's sup 20:56, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: Pass[edit]

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the requirements of the GA criteria. I'm specifically going over all of the "Conflicts, battles and military exercises" articles. I believe the article currently meets the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. As a side not, a source should be added for "The entire massacre, which claimed 15 lives, took about 10 minutes to complete." If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I have edited the article history to reflect this review. Regards, --Nehrams2020 19:48, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Indian Creek massacre/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

Does not meet good article criteria "factually accurate". As mentioned at Talk:Mike Girty and Talk:Execution of Lucy and James Sample, problems have arisen from using old or non-scholarly sources that do not qualify as reliable sources. Much cleanup needed here and elsewhere. —Kevin Myers 04:37, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Can you point to specific poorly sourced facts.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 22:09, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Since writing the above, I've removed some of the unreliable stuff, such as references to Mike Girty (though we might re-add a bit about the legend as we discover more reliable sources). Some doubtful stuff still remains, such as the dialogue about "our warriors will number like the trees in the forests", which doesn't appear in reliable sources, and appears to be a polished version of a doubtful 19th century account. Since most of the article is still cited to sources written by amateur historians and/or journalists that don't meet WP:RS, a better question would be, "Can you point to specific properly sourced facts?" There aren't many right now. The good news is that there is a decent selection of reliable sources to consult for this article, we just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I'll do more fixes as time allows, but until then, this isn't a "good article". —Kevin Myers 23:35, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

I can find no reliable source for the claim that cries of "Remember Indian Creek!" were heard from the Warrior before the Bad Axe massacre. It may be true, but the only mention of the phrase I can find on Google books is from a modern novel. The only source we have here is an unreferenced, amateur history article from DeKalb County Online (no longer live) that does not qualify as a reliable source. —Kevin Myers 14:27, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Similarly, this article is used as a source, but modern newspaper articles should usually not be used as historical sources, since they're not written by historians. A newspaper is a reliable source for reporting the news, not writing history. From this news article, we've used the description of Jesse B. Brown as a "former brigadier general" of the Illinois militia. I can't find a source to confirm this. From what I can tell, Brown was not yet a former militia general in 1832, though he would become an Iowa militia general years later. —Kevin Myers 19:02, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Mike Girty and sourcing[edit]

Copied from Talk:Mike Girty.Kevin Myers 07:31, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Alas, Mike Girty is probably a fictional person.

My suspicions were aroused after seeing him described on Wikipedia as leading the Indian Creek massacre, and yet no modern scholarly source on the Black Hawk War makes any mention of him. A recent biography of Simon Girty by Phillip Hoffman makes no mention of any Mike or Michael Girty, nor does the classic History of the Girtys by Butterfield, if I'm not mistaken. The Black Hawk War documents compiled by Ellen Whitney makes no mention of any Girty, as far as I can tell.

It appears that the story of Mike Girty in the Black Hawk War originated in 1872 with Reminiscences of Bureau County... by Nehemiah Matson. Matson was an amateur historian who embellished his books with tall tales. Or, as this article says: "Because of his indiscriminate mixing of fact and legend, however, scholars generally discount his books as valid sources." Matson does get cited by scholars on occasion, but they've apparently rejected the Mike Girty story as fiction or an unfounded local legend.

This illustrates the importance of adhering to the Wikipedia guideline of using only reliable sources to write articles. The main source used for this article is a self-published book on canoeing, which absolutely does not qualify as a reliable source for a history article.

So what do we do? We must get rid of the unreliable sources, to be sure. That would leave us with very little. Do we then delete the article? Or do we keep it to alert unwary readers of old or unreliable books that the Mike Girty story has not been repeated by modern scholars? —Kevin Myers 10:58, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

In his 1903 book The Black Hawk War, Frank E. Stevens dismissed the story in a brief footnote: "The statement by Matson that one Mike Girty was connected with the Indian Creek massacre is incorrect." (p. 147) Matson's story appears to have been doubted in James P. Dowd's 1979 biography of Shabbona, but I only have a snippet view on Google Books right now, so I can't be sure what his final assessment was. Anyone have that book handy? —Kevin Myers 14:56, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Not handy, but I bet my local library does (I live in northern Illinois). IvoShandor (talk) 18:12, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
If you get a chance to check it out and report back, that would be great. In all of the Black Hawk War-related articles, we should upgrade the referencing to works written by scholars, wherever possible. Many of the articles are now referenced to old sources that are often outdated, or to online sources often not written by scholars. These were okay first steps, especially in the early days of building Wikipedia, but we should go beyond that now. Thanks! —Kevin Myers 04:53, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Besides Trask and Jung I'm not sure where to look, there seems to have been little work on the topic by scholars. I used to have access to JSTOR and a few other databases and found very little a few years back, perhaps there has been more work done on the topic in the interim. Do you have access to any of the scholarly databases? If you can think of anyone in particular, besides Trask and Jung, post it here, it will be a good starting point. There seem to be a few out of print books on the topic as well.IvoShandor (talk) 20:28, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, we're mostly limited to the books by Trask, Jung (two books now), Hall, and Nichols. Plus, we should consult scholarly biographies and tribal histories for info in the sub-articles as needed, such as the book by Dowd mentioned above. So, if you're writing about something related to the Potawatomis, you'd want to consult the books by Edmunds and Clifton for context. Details (like Mike Girty) that only appear in very old histories and not in modern scholarly works should be regarded with suspicion. There doesn't appear to be much in the scholarly databases of recent vintage, but there are a couple of interesting newish articles that I haven't read yet: "A Persistent Removal" by Sherfy and "What the White 'Squaws' Want from Black Hawk" by Helton. —Kevin Myers 21:29, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

The massacre drawing[edit]

In his discussion of the Massacre at Indian Creek, Rajtar, Steve, Indian War Sites: A Guidebook to Battlefield, Monuments and Memorials, State by State with Canada and Mexico, McFarland & Company, Jefferson North Carolina, 1999 lists works by (1) Gurko, (2) Havighurst, (3) Edmunds, and (4) Eby as his sources. All seem to have been published in the 1970s and I have access to none of them. Let me know if you need more information.
Also, while I have you here, I think that the drawing in the article needs to go. It was (opinion) produced as anti native propaganda at a time when Manifest Destiny was considered the only way to go and we (White Americans) needed "reasons" to show why our treatment of the natives was civilized and civilizing and this sort of image was produced to do that. "See what savages these primitives are? We need to get them away from us. Etc." Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 20:19, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

That's an interesting point about the drawing. It was produced at an important time in the Indian wars, just after Little Bighorn, the killing of Crazy Horse, the surrender of Chief Joseph, etc. You're right, racial propaganda was used to help justify American policy towards Native Americans. If we keep the drawing, we should put it in context. There is a lot of scholarly writing about white-produced images of Native Americans. Perhaps we can find some specific references about images of the Black Hawk War, or at least about images produced in the 1870s. —Kevin Myers 04:46, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Anyone have these sources?[edit]

Anyone have access to all four volumes of the Black Hawk War documents compiled by Ellen Whitney? The first two volumes are online at the Internet Archive, but the final two appear not to be. This is unfortunate, since Google Books hits about the Indian Creek massacre often point to snippet views of the final volume. Maybe someone can take a look and fill out a few details in this article.

In particular, it might be nice to have more details about Keewasee, Toquame, and Comee. Perry A. Armstrong, in The Sauks and the Black Hawk War (1887), reprints some court documents about the three. He also repeats the story told by Matson in Memories of Shaubena about the Indians disguising themselves with paint to avoid being identified by the Hall girls in court. This story doesn't seem believable, and is apparently not repeated in modern scholarly sources. Does Whitney say anything about this? Do tell! The books are:

  • Whitney, Ellen M., ed. The Black Hawk War, 1831–1832: Volume I, Illinois Volunteers. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970. ISBN 0912154225. Published as Volume XXXV of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library. Available online from the Internet Archive.
  • ———, ed. The Black Hawk War, 1831–1832: Volume II, Letters & Papers, Part I, April 30, 1831 – June 23, 1832. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Library, 1973. ISBN 0-912154-22-5. Published as Volume XXXVI of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library. Available online from the Internet Archive.
  • ———, ed. The Black Hawk War, 1831–1832: Volume II, Letters & Papers, Part II, June 24, 1832 – October 14, 1834. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Library, 1975. ISBN 0912154241. Published as Volume XXXVII of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library.
  • ———, ed. The Black Hawk War, 1831–1832: Volume II, Letters and Papers, Part III, Appendices and Index. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Library, 1978. Published as Volume XXXVIII of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library.

Thanks! —Kevin Myers 19:40, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Original Prersentation[edit]

There needed to be a better separation of the massacre from the war. And by attempting to explain what happened with the massacre and what happened with the war just jumped chronology too often unless you already knew the story and used it to confirm what you knew instead of understanding the timeline or issue development.SharpQuillPen (talk) 18:38, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

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