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Pre-Conference Field Trip


James Valley Hutterite Colony

1.00-5.30 pm. Thursday 27 September 2007


The Hutterites are a German-speaking Anabaptist people who practise pacifism and communal living.  The group had its origins in reformation Europe.  For centuries they migrated within Europe seeking refuge from persecution, moving from Austrian Tyrol through Moravia to Ukraine.  In the early 1870s they came to North America to avoid persecution by Czarist authorities. They settled in South Dakota where they established agricultural colonies and communal living.  After the United States entered the war the Hutterites were treated harshly for their refusal to bear arms and because they were of German ancestry.  In 1919 they moved north to Canada where one group, the Schmiedeleut, established colonies in Manitoba.  Two other groups, the Dariusleut and the Leherleut, settled in Alberta.  There are now some 116 Hutterite colonies in Manitoba and about 50,000 Hutterites living in some 484 colonies in North America.



Participants on the field trip will travel by air-conditioned bus to James Valley Colony near to Elie, Manitoba, about 45 minutes west of Winnipeg. This colony is one of the first Hutterite colonies to be established in Manitoba.  Its economy is based on mixed farming.  The colony of about 90 people grows wheat on over 5000 acres of land and raises pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys.  It also has a dairy herd and grows most of its own vegetables.  Agricultural technology is state of the art but the way of life is simple and communal.  This field trip will explore all colony operations apart from the pig operation where access is restricted by rigorous hygiene standards set by Provincial agricultural regulations.  Participants will have a unique glimpse into Hutterite daily life and an opportunity to explore Hutterite philosophy and the challenges that they face in balancing the preservation of community of goods with an onrush of secular values that are mostly antithetical to their beliefs.

Space is limited to 40 people.  Cost:  $25.00 (Includes transportation and refreshments at the colony).