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Junkins

Junkins: The first black pioneers settled in the Wildwood area, about 85 miles west of Edmonton. You would think that being in the middle of nowhere, away from society would be tough enough, but the settlers also faced giant bull flies, swamps, and the timber that covered the area and would need to be cleared. That would be extremely hard work! If supplies from Edmonton were needed, the journey would take a day in either direction. Today in a car it would take about an hour! So, as in other rural communities, local game, berries, and fish provided the settlers' main source of food, along with family vegetable gardens. Medical and other kinds of outside help were too far away to be used, but in its place the community developed its own independent and unifying institutions, beliefs, and traditions.

The Baptist church was one of the first institutions established at Junkins. Once a year, on July 1st, the congregation held an annual picnic that included not only sporting events and a dance, but also songs, plays, and recitations. However, the isolated sort of life in Junkins meant that many of its young people left to find work elsewhere, often in Edmonton or back in the United States. That still happens today in some of the smaller towns in Alberta. There are now only a few black families still farming in the area, which is now called Wildwood.

To learn more about black settlement in Alberta click here.

Junkins

Junkins