Amber Valley, Alberta

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Amber Valley
Amber Valley is located in Alberta
Amber Valley
Amber Valley
Location of Amber Valley in Alberta
Coordinates: 54°43′58″N 112°55′46″W / 54.73278°N 112.92944°W / 54.73278; -112.92944Coordinates: 54°43′58″N 112°55′46″W / 54.73278°N 112.92944°W / 54.73278; -112.92944
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Northern Alberta
Census division 13
Municipal district Athabasca County
 • Reeve Doris Splane
 • Governing body
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)

Amber Valley is an unincorporated community in Alberta, Canada, about 160 kilometres (99 mi) north of the capital Edmonton. Its elevation is 608 m (1,995 ft). Originally named Pine Creek, Amber Valley was among several Alberta communities settled by early black immigrants to the province. It is the location of the Obadiah Place heritage site.


In 1909, a group of 160 Black Canadian homesteaders established the community as a block settlement.[2] The homesteaders, from Oklahoma and Texas, arrived within four years of Alberta becoming a province in 1905.[3]

The settlers were led by Parson H. Sneed, a clergyman and mason, to an area by the Athabasca River. For the first few years it was difficult for them, with the climate harsher than what they were used to back in Oklahoma. They had to develop areas for planting crops and building houses from the ground up. In the end, the settlers were as resilient as their surroundings were tough, and three quarters of them stayed. They built a school house in 1913 and a nondenominational church in 1914. They also had a baseball team that was widely known in the north. Amber Valley became the largest community of black people in Alberta until the 1930s.

Beginning in the 1950s, many descendants of the original settlers began moving to near cities such as Edmonton to escape the rigors of rural life. In Edmonton, many Amber Valley descendants founded the Shiloh Baptist Church, one of the few black churches in Western Canada.[4]

Original Settlers[edit]

Willis Reese Bowen organized the original group of five families who moved from Oklahoma to Vancouver and then on to Amber Valley.[5]

People from Amber Valley[edit]

Popular Interest[edit]

See also[edit]

Similar 1908 to 1910 Alberta homesteader settlements of Black Canadians:


  1. ^ "Municipal Officials Search". Alberta Municipal Affairs. June 23, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  2. ^ Boyle and District Historical Society (1982). Forests, furrows and faith : a history of Boyle and districts. Boyle. p. 27. 
  3. ^ Rowe, Allan (2015-02-12). "African American Immigration to Alberta". Historic Resources Management Branch. Alberta Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Mikell, Montague. "Fixing Obadiah Place". Alberta Settlement. Legacy Magazine, Summer 2000. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  6. ^ Brennan, Brian. "John Ware wasn’t the only black settler in Alberta at the turn of the 20th century". Brian Brennan. Brian Brennan. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  7. ^ "OBADIAH PLACE". Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Brennan, Brian. "John Ware wasn’t the only black settler in Alberta at the turn of the 20th century". Brian Brennan. Brian Brennan. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  9. ^ "A Farmer from Amber Valley: J.D. Edwards". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  10. ^ Turner, Patricia (27 December 2011). "Exclusive interview with Selwyn Jacob: The Producer of the documentary on Harry Jerome". Mega Diversities. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  11. ^

External links[edit]