Friday, 1 July 2011

Canada - Home to Hutterites for Ninety-Three Years

I was contemplating what to write for Canada Day and decided to focus on Hutterites in Canada. And instead of writing something myself I ask my friend and colleague, Dora Maendel, teacher at Fairholme colony if I could use something she wrote some time ago and I'm grateful she agreed. Tucked into everything I write is something Dora taught me, who is an incredible writer and mentor. This is an excerpt from her article,  The Hutterite People

During World War I the U.S. government passed the Selective Service Act which meant that all young men aged 21 to 31 were conscripted into the army. Hutterites ran into difficulty when they requested exemption from military work orders and wearing the military uniform. For this reason, four young men from Rockport Colony were sentenced in 1917 to the prison at Alcatraz where they received such brutal treatment that two of them died in a military hospital almost immediately after being transferred there.

At this time the Canadian government still needed settlers on the prairies and welcomed the Hutterites, assuring them of religious freedom and exemption from military service. In 1918, therefore, the Hutterites moved to Canada.

The Dariusleut and Lehrerleut founded four colonies each in Alberta and later branched out to establish new colonies in Saskatchewan as well as Montana and Washington in the US. Schmiedeleut Hutterites founded six colonies near Elie, Manitoba; these have grown to number nearly ninety. Some of the Schmiedeleut colonies returned to South Dakota after WWII to establish colonies there once more and were able to purchase several of the former colony sites. Today there are about 15,200 Schmiedeleut: 6500 in the US and 8700 in Manitoba .

For my own sentiments about Hutterites in Canada see: 'God Keep Our Land Glorious and Free.

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