Our state LOVES Native Americans and precious metals xD Gold rush, copper mines, silver mines, and all the horrible injustices perpetrated against Native Americans. And slavery in a “Oh, THOSE ignorant people in…
I can second the Kansas thing from middle school! (I was in Kansas City, though, not the rural bits.) We did learn a bit about Bleeding Kansas, although I don’t believe nearly enough time was spent on John Brown’s amazing creepiness. And I know that we touched on the origin of the Jayhawks’ name, too, but that might have been because most of my teachers were rabid KU fans.
The Jayhawk thing seems to be more emphasized the closer you get to the Missouri border, and to Lawrence, which makes sense. I was south-central, so I picked that bit up later, about the time I started hanging out with somebody from Missouri. We also had a lot of focus on Dodge City, and the cattle runs, history of the railroad, that sort of thing, when we were learning about our own region at all. When I hit middle school, and I had a Kansas History requirement, they added abolition and more honesty about the deaths involved in Bleeding Kansas. That, and a strong impression that John Brown was somehow the savior of the United States and the best thing to happen to Kansas. I think we probably learned more about the Dust Bowl than some parts (okay the northeast) of the state possibly do, but largely because we were all farm and factory kids, some of us with grandparents who lived through it. It’s more relevant when you’ve been driving by the tree lines your whole life, same with homesteading law.
Most of the time was spent on things that happened out east, or out west, and that stayed true through on into high school. I don’t think we talked about the midwest at all in American History, excluding Lewis and Clark calling us a desert.
Yeah, we got the same impression of John Brown when I had middle school Kansas-focused history, which is why I made the creepiness comment—he really was an intensely skeevy guy. We also spent some time learning about the hardships that pioneers went through—I remember the plague of locusts stuff particularly. But even in our “Kansas History” class (eighth grade, I think?) we weren’t spending all that much time on Kansas. I remember a lot more about the Vietnam war from that year, of all things. I also went through a World History unit while I was there that spent a fair bit of time on the Soviet Union and the Cold War, I think.
By the time I got to American History, I was in Georgia and the biases were different again! I remember a little about the Midwest in the context of the Civil War, but more of a “oh yeah, that happened” than anything else. I believe the most time spent on the Midwest in my high school history classes came alongside the concept of manifest destiny.