Here is an insightful article with a good comments section and another discussion on a forum:
So, what defines Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is part of a geographical region characterized by conservative and Evangelical Christianity known as the “Bible Belt“. Spanning the southeastern United States, the area is known for politically and socially conservative views, even though Oklahoma has more voters registered with the Democratic Party than with any other party.
Oklahoma is placed in the South by the United States Census Bureau, but lies fully or partially in the Southwest, and southern cultural regionsby varying definitions, and partially in the Upland South and Great Plains by definitions of abstract geographical-cultural regions. Oklahomans have a high rate of English, Scotch-Irish, German, and Native American ancestry, with 25 different native languages spoken.
Because many Native Americans were forced to move to Oklahoma when White settlement in North America increased, Oklahoma has a lot of linguistic diversity. Mary Linn, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and the associate curator of Native American languages at the Sam Noble Museum, said that Oklahoma also has high levels of language endangerment.
Six governments have claimed the area now known as Oklahoma at different times, and 67 Native American tribes are represented in Oklahoma, including 39 federally recognized tribes, who are headquartered and have tribal jurisdictional areas in the state. Western ranchers, Native American tribes, southern settlers, and eastern oil barons have shaped the state’s cultural predisposition, and its largest cities have been named among the most underrated cultural destinations in the United States.
While residents of Oklahoma are associated with stereotypical traits of southern hospitality – the Catalogue for Philanthropy ranks Oklahomans 4th in the nation for overall generosity – the state has also been associated with a negative cultural stereotype first popularized by John Steinbeck‘s novel “The Grapes of Wrath“, which described the plight of uneducated, poverty-stricken Dust Bowl-era farmers deemed “Okies“. However, the term is often used in a positive manner by Oklahomans.
Now, the Southern Focus Poll, conducted by the Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provides strong support for including such states as Texas, Kentucky and Oklahoma in the South. On the other hand, West Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, Delaware and the District of Columbia don’t belong anymore, if they ever did.
Fourteen polls, surveying a total of more than 17,000 people between 1992 and 1999 show, for example, that only 7 percent of D.C. residents responding say that they live in the South.
Only 14 percent of Delaware residents think they live in the region, followed by Missourians with 23 percent, Marylanders with 40 percent and West Virginians with 45 percent.
“We found 84 percent of Texans, 82 percent of Virginians, 79 percent of Kentuckians and 69 percent of Oklahomans say they live in the South,” says Dr. John Shelton Reed, director of the institute. “Our findings correspond to the traditional 13-state South as defined by the Gallup organization and others, but is different from the Census Bureau’s South, which doesn’t make sense.”
Oklahoma, with its rich, fertile soil and undeveloped resources, was attractive to Southerners ruined by War and Reconstruction. They came in droves, hoping to better their lot. Many of them were Confederate veterans. Settled in 1887, Wynnewood, like most of the towns in Indian Territory, was populated nearly exclusively by people from the Old South states, and today the southeast quadrant of the state is still known as Little Dixie.
What about the significant numbers of Germans, Czechs, and Union soldiers/veterans in Oklahoma? What about the socialists, progressives and populists? Don’t they count?