The Honourable Ralph G. Steinhauer had the distinction of being the first
Native Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. He was very prominent in Alberta Native
Ralph Garvin Steinhauer was born on June 8, 1905, at Morley, Alberta, which
was then located in the North-West Territories. He was the son of Josiah Apow and
Amelia Mildred Mumford. Following the death of his natural father in 1908, his
mother returned to Saddle Lake, Alberta, and eventually married James Arthur
Steinhauer who adopted her children, including Ralph.
Ralph G. Steinhauer was a
full Treaty Indian of the Cree tribe and great grandson of the famous Methodist
missionary, Henry Bird Steinhauer. Ralph G. Steinhauer was educated at the
Brandon Indian Residential School and was a member of the United Church of
On November 20, 1928, he married Isabel Florence Margaret Davidson,
daughter of 0.G. Davidson of Buffalo, New York. They had five children: Muriel
Ann, Doreen Margaret, Kathleen Amelia Jean, Isabel June, and Kenneth Davidson.
Ralph G. Steinhauer started work as a clerk in a general store at Vilna,
Alberta. His first application for the position of Assistant Postmaster of Vilna was
refused on racial grounds. However, he was eventually appointed to this position.
His farming career began when he cleared a forty acre homestead tract. He owned
a farm near Brosseau, Alberta, on the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve. In 1923, Ralph G. Steinhauer joined the United Farmers of
Alberta . He was
the Liberal candidate for the federal electoral district of Vegreville in 1963, but was
Ralph G. Steinhauer was a founding member of the Alberta Wheat Pool and
District President of the Farmers' Union. For thirty-four years, he served as
Councillor and for three years as Chief of the Saddle Lake Indian Band. He
founded and was President of the Indian Association of Alberta and was President
of the Alberta Indian Development Corporation. He helped launch and was a
member of the Saddle Lake Centennial Development Association, a successful
farming venture on the Saddle Lake Reserve. He was a member of the Two Hills
Chamber of Commerce and was a Life Member of the St. Paul Chamber of
Commerce. He served five years on the Board of Directors for Alberta Newstart
and was a Council Member for the Northern Alberta Development Council.
President of the Alberta Indian Development Systems Limited and served on the
Board of Directors of the Brosseau Mutual Telephone System, the Indian Eskimo
Association, and the Rural Electrification Association. He was also involved in the
Alberta Rural Development Authority and the Federal Indian Economic
On the advice of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Ralph G. Steinhauer
was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta effective July 2, 1974. This appointment was made by Jules Leger, Governor General of Canada. His Senior
Aide-de-Camp was Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Quarton, and his Secretary was
M. Patricia Halligan.
Ralph G. Steinhauer served as Lieutenant-Governor until his
successor was appointed effective October 18, 1979. He then returned to his farm at
Ralph G. Steinhauer received the Canadian Centennial Medal (1967), the
Medal of Service of the Order of Canada (1967) which was superseded by his
appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada (1972), Honorary Doctor of
Laws degrees from the University of Alberta (1976) and the University of Calgary
(1979), and an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Stephen's College,
Edmonton (1985). As well, he was a Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order
of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (1975).
Ralph G. Steinhauer died at Edmonton on September 19, 1987, and was buried
in the United Church Cemetery at Saddle Lake, Alberta. An elementary school in
Edmonton is named in his memory.