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Cheryl and Omar are inheritors of this feast. Their stories come together in response to another group of Syrians that arrived in Edmonton in 2015. They began by welcoming these newcomers at the airport with Indigenous song and dance and grew to realize there was more to explore.
Cheryl is the Executive Director of the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society and has been with Bent Arrow just about since its inception over a quarter-century ago. Now she oversees a suite of 21 different programs and services. The organization's programming connects indigenous clients to the city around them, and helps them build skills and resilience that they can use in other parts of their lives.
Cheryl proudly serves as a board member of the Canadian Accreditation Council of Human Services, the Align Association of Community Services and was newly appointed to the Board of PolicyWise for Children & Families. She has contributed to the work of EndPovertyEdmonton since its inception and currently acts as co-chair of the Stewardship Round Table. She also sits at the table for the National Advisory Council on Poverty. She acts as a mentor for the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations Executive Director Mentorship program and represents Bent Arrow through CS, a collaborative partnership of five non-profits using innovative engagement in vulnerable neighbourhoods. Cheryl is proud of the strong partnerships she has maintained across sectors.
A graduate of the Child & Youth Care Program at Grant MacEwan University in 1995 and was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. She was also recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Alberta in 2021. Cheryl was also recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary Foundation in 2021.
Omar Yaqub (@somaryaqub Twitter, LinkedIn), is excited about soulful placemaking, shared stories, and disrupting inequity through beauty. He is a settler on Treaty 6, with two decades of experience in the for-benefit sector. He serves Islamic Family, a multi-award winning Imagine Canada accredited charity in the social services sector. Omar has been a part of the creation process for The Canadian Prayer Rug, Roots on 6, and ECVO's History of Edmonton’s Human Services Sector.
Omar has been awarded a Doctor of Sacred Letters from St Stephen's College, EMCN's RISE award for Community Leadership, and the University of Alberta’s Co-op Mentorship Award.
Edmonton's Historian Laureate is expected to:
Edmonton’s Historian Laureate must submit a report to the Edmonton Historical Board and the Edmonton Heritage Council on a yearly basis. The Historian Laureate must also attend the Edmonton Historical Board’s presentation to Council Committee.
The Edmonton Historian Laureate receives an honorarium of $7500 for each year of the 2-year term, provided by the Edmonton Historical Board.
In 2010, the City of Edmonton reinforced the importance of identifying and preserving Edmonton’s history by becoming Canada’s first municipality to appoint a Historian Laureate. The Historian Laureate is the City’s official ambassador on historical matters and promotes the history of the city and its citizens.
A jury, comprised of members of the Edmonton Historical Board and the Edmonton Heritage Council, selects a new Historian Laureate every 2 years.
Amber Paquette is a Métis multi-disciplinary artist, film-maker and Indigenous People's interpreter born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. Her life's passion and work have long been inspired by the rich history and culture of her family.
Amber has worked professionally as a historian, story-teller and Indigenous People's Interpreter with Fort Edmonton Park for several years. Her work with the public has centred on the daily re-enactment of Edmonton's historic Fur Trade era and Indigenous culture and traditions.
Amber can trace her ancestry back to many of the prolific founders of early Fort Edmonton - Cree, Iroquois, French and Scottish fur traders who played a pivotal role in the city's birth.
As Historian Laureate, Amber introduced Edmontonians to many local stories and characters through a series of short documentary films. Amber inspired Edmontonians to foster a deeper connection with their city and the places they call home, while paying homage to the incredible contributions of her First Nations and Métis ancestors.
Marlena Wyman was Edmonton's fifth Historian Laureate. As a visual artist and archivist, her goals were to shine a light on lesser known Edmonton stories through her art and to increase awareness of the role of the archives.
She created artworks for two exhibits that were inspired by the archival records of early Edmonton women. She also curated the exhibit: Sketching History: Rediscovering Edmonton's Architectural Heritage through Urban Sketching, installed at the Prince of Wales Armouries and City Archives.
Sketches of the city's built and natural heritage by members of Urban Sketchers Edmonton were featured, as well as photographs and paintings from the City of Edmonton Archives. A smaller exhibit travelled to Edmonton Public Library branches and a catalogue was published.
An online version can be viewed on the City Archives webpage.
Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was Edmonton’s fourth historian laureate and was active in animating Edmonton’s stories through creating the Let's Find Out podcast. He produced 20 episodes of the podcast as well as a live panel discussion. He also maintained and expanded the Historian Laureate Facebook page.
Chang-Yen Phillips also animated Edmonton's history through marking Canada's 150th. For this, he was involved in writing a series of history stories for CBC Canada. He also supervised a group of University of Alberta students making radio stories about Edmonton’s Chinatown for a project called Figure 一，二，三，六，八.
Edmonton's third Historian Laureate, Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, was very active during her term, especially online. She promoted Edmonton's history through her Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail website and blog as well as on Twitter through her account @danicanuck using the hashtag #yeghistory. She also started a Historian Laureate Facebook page.
Metcalfe-Chemail's publications during her time as Historian Laureate include Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North and a children's book Aviation ABC's. She also wrote numerous articles for blogs, newspapers and magazines.
During her time as Historian Laureate, Shirley Lowe continued to raise awareness of the position. Her success is shown by the increasing number of requests for media appearances and presentations to community groups.
Lowe helped to mark significant Edmonton milestones like the 100-year anniversaries of the completion of the High Level Bridge and the amalgamation of Strathcona and Edmonton. She spoke up for Edmonton's heritage with groups like the Rossdale Regeneration Group.
Research & Presentation Highlights
Ken Tingley became the first municipal Historian Laureate in Canada when he was named to the position in April 2010. "I am honoured that the City of Edmonton has chosen me as Historian Laureate," said Tingley. "Edmonton may be a relatively young city, but it has packed a lot in. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share this history with others."
During his tenure as Historian Laureate, Tingley presented and gave tours at local symposiums and conferences and spoke to historical societies and community and professional groups. Tingley also served as Master of Ceremonies for the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and the Liberation of Holland, held at Sir Winston Churchill Square on May 5, 2010.
One of his first duties as Historian Laureate, attending Evansdale School's Multicultural Heritage days, led to an ongoing oral history project, documenting the experiences of recent immigrant children and their families.
Ken Tingley's publications during his time as Historian Laureate include Ride of the Century: The Story of the Edmonton Transit System and My Heart's in the Highlands: The Building of a Historic Edmonton Community.