Journalism professor discusses his book on Native American culture


By Krystal Sidzyik, Senior Staff Writer

Hugh Reilly, associate professor in UNO’s School of Communications, spoke Feb. 15 at a seminar for the Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL about The Great Sioux Uprising in 1862, a topic that inspired his book, “Bound to Have Blood: Frontier Newspapers and the Plains Indian Wars.”

The book takes readers back to the late 19th century to “show how newspaper reporting influenced attitudes about the conflict between the United States and Native Americans,” according to Reilly. The book focuses on eight watershed events between 1862 and 1891, including the Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, which Reilly spoke about during the seminar.

 “I’ve always had a fascination with the Native American culture and history,” Reilly said. “From the time I could read, what I most enjoyed reading were things about Native Americans, so I’ve just always had an interest in this.”

Reilly got the idea for the book when he was thinking of thesis ideas for his graduate degree.

“When I was putting together ideas for my thesis, I rejected several ideas and thought about this idea to look at the old frontier newspapers and see what I could find,” Reilly said. “That’s what ended up taking hold and that’s really the start of it all. I’ve just expanded and added several chapters to it and now it’s a book.”

Reilly spoke at the Paul A. Olson seminar in Lincoln as part of a series leading up to a symposium titled “1862-2012: The Making of the Great Plains,” which will be held from March 28 to 30.

The Center of Great Plains Studies planned the symposium to celebrate the 150th anniversary of four acts of legislation that were passed by Congress in 1862: the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act, the Pacific Railroad Act and the act establishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The seminars offer an opportunity for interested scholars, students and members of the community to come together to examine various topics related to the Great Plains,” according to the Great Plains Studies website. The monthly seminars are free and open to the public.

The next seminar, scheduled for March 14, will feature associate professor of History and Native American Studies from UNO, Dennis J. Smith. Smith will discuss 19th century Fort Peck Assiniboine cultural persistence.

Reilly’s future endeavor is entirely different from Native American culture.

“I’m working on a book about Irish pubs, something my father started on in the late 1970s,” Reilly said. “He passed away about eight years ago. He had some notes and things, so I’m starting with his notes and building on it.”

Reilly will be traveling to Ireland this summer to conduct his research.