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Amber Valley, Alberta facts for kids

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Amber Valley
Amber Valley Cultural Centre
Amber Valley Cultural Centre
Amber Valley is located in Alberta
Amber Valley
Amber Valley
Location in Alberta
Country Canada
Province Alberta
Region Northern Alberta
Census division 13
Municipal district Athabasca County
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)

Amber Valley is an unincorporated community in northern Alberta, Canada, approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) north of Edmonton. Its elevation is 608 m (1,995 ft). Originally named Pine Creek, Amber Valley was among several Alberta communities settled in the early 20th century by early Black immigrants to the province from Oklahoma and the Deep South of the United States. About 1,000 African Americans emigrated to Alberta from 1909-1911. Amber Valley is the location of the Obadiah Place provincial heritage site, a homestead of one of the first African-American settler families.


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

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.

Original Settlers

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

Popular Interest

  • The community was the subject of the 1984 documentary film We Remember Amber Valley, directed by Selwyn Jacob.
  • The setting of Aster in Esi Edugyan's debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, is based upon the settlement.

Notable people

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Noble Laureates:
Toni Morrison
Barack Obama
Martin Luther King Jr.
Ralph Bunche
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