History

Hutterite people were from Germany and had been treated badly in Europe for many years. They were mistreated for their beliefs. Many immigrated to Russia looking for a place where they could live and practice their religion. In 1874, one thousand Hutterites left Germany and Russia and moved to the United States and settled in colonies in South Dakota.

An Illustrated world map with the countries of Canada, Germany, Russia, United States, Netherlands, Ukraine, Poland, and Switzerland highlighted.

Some Hutterite immigrants immigrated from Germany to Canada. Others immigrated from Germany to Russia and then to Canada.

A map illustration is highlighting the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Switzerland. This map also shows the surrounding countries of Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Belarus, Austria, Hungary, Romaine, etc.

The country of Germany and the surrounding countries.

These colonies were farming communities where people lived and worked together. They shared everything as a group. This way of life allowed them to maintain their culture, religion, language, and customs. The sharing of all resources exists up to the present day and is one of the things that make Hutterites different from other similar religious groups, like Mennonites.

A group of women, men, and children are grouped in front of a Hutterite colony wearing clothing that meets the clothing codes in these colonies

The Hutterites live and work on farming colonies together.

Settlement

In 1918, the United States wanted the Hutterites to fight in World War I. Since Hutterites do not believe in taking up arms (fighting) against anyone, they moved from South Dakota in the United States and into Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

An illustrated aerial view of a Hutterite colony shows how large it is, and how many various buildings are required.

Here is a view from above to show how large Hutterite colonies are.

Today there are about 46 Hutterite colonies in Saskatchewan alone. All colonies live in rural areas and are farmers. They keep up with the latest technology, and have large, mixed farming operations, allowing them to stay competitive and successful as a group.

A modern tractor pulls an air seeder.

Hutterites use the latest machinery and technology.

Culture

Every person on a Hutterite Colony is assigned a job. Some assigned jobs include carpenter, chicken manager, farm boss, business manager, seamstress, and head cook. Each person is in charge of their area, usually with one or two helpers. In recent years, many Hutterite colonies have started manufacturing items to add to their farm income. Colonies make and sell items like hog feeders, heaters, and chairs.

A Hutterite woman is in a kitchen preparing a sink full of chicken pieces, with a bowl full of flour next to her.

Hutterites have a group of women in charge of cooking food.

A woman uses a sewing machine to make clothing.

Hutterites make their own clothing.

Hutterites follow many of their customs quite strictly. For example, they have a dress code or rules about their appearance. Their clothing is an important symbol of faith and identity. While the style of clothing is similar from colony to colony, the patterns and shade of their clothes show which colony they belong to.

Typically:

  • Men wear suspenders, usually black or dark trousers, and any kind of buttoned shirt.
  • When men are married, they grow a beard.
  • Women wear dresses that end below their knees.
  • Younger women and girls wear more brightly coloured dresses more than older women.
  • Women must cover their heads at all times.
  • Women traditionally wear a head covering that is black with polka dots. Girls between the ages of three to about ten wear a bonnet head covering.
An Illustrated group of Hutterites are gathered together. The women wear dresses with polka dots and plaid patterns, with bonnets. The men wear black pants, black jackets, white shirts, and suspender

Hutterites have a dress code for all men, women, and children to follow.

A man sits on a stool next to a basket full of eggs, while he looks at an individual egg before placing it on a cardboard container full of eggs.

All of the adult Hutterites have a job on each colony. This man is checking the eggs for quality and setting them in packaging.