Arab, Middle Eastern and North African
Culture, History, Statistics & People in Oklahoma
Although Nurcihan Uysal and her husband, Vahap, are fluent English speakers, they are careful only to speak Turkish to their American born children, Meryem, 3, and Yakup, 2.
Their goal is to have the children grow up to be bilingual and to create a strong bond between the children and their Turkish and Islamic heritage, enabling them to have more in common with their extended family in Turkey.
The Middle East is a vast region. Including the Arab countries of North Africa, it stretches from Morocco to eastern Mediterranean countries like Turkey and Israel and eastward to Iran. People have come to Oklahoma from the Middle East for more than 100 years and have had a considerable impact on the state’s culture.
People from the Middle East first settled in Oklahoma in the late 19th century, often coming in search of entrepreneurial opportunities. It was common for them initially to peddle goods, learn English, and build retail and wholesale businesses.
2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates for Arab, North African and Middle Eastern Oklahomans