Today the Omaha World Herald reported:

“Two new University of Nebraska Press books make a significant contribution to explaining an unpleasant chapter in Great Plains history.

‘Bound to Have Blood: Frontier Newspapers and the Plains Indian Wars’ by Hugh J. Reilly looks at how newspaper coverage of those conflicts from the 1860s to the 1890s ranged from sensationalist to thoughtful.

Reilly’s introduction also provides an excellent history of newspapering during territorial and early statehood times.

In response to anxiety over the Ghost Dance phenomenon in the 1890s, many frontier newspapers contributed to the frenzy by predicting a widespread Indian outbreak. Reilly points to examples in the Omaha Bee, including its story titled ‘Fears of An Ambush.’

The World-Herald called for calm in editorials titled ‘Leave Them Alone’ and ‘No Need for War.’ The newspaper sent Suzette La Flesche, a member of the Omaha tribe, as a correspondent to cover Indian news in South Dakota. After the massacre of at least 170 Indians at Wounded Knee in 1890, a World-Herald editorial condemned it as a ‘crime against civilization.’

Reilly is an associate professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a member of UNO’s Native American studies faculty.

The second book from the University of Nebraska Press’s Bison Books imprint is ‘Eyewitness at Wounded Knee,’ which brings together 150 digitally enhanced photographs. The book was put together by Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul and John E. Carter.

Although the subject is somber, the vivid photos and well-written text present a full and useful history. There also are striking pictures of the Indian leaders Red Cloud and Standing Bear.

These two historical studies do an outstanding job of deepening the knowledge of Plains history.”

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