An inside view of Hutterite country as religious community opens up to cameras | National Post
Hutterites (German: Hutterer), also called Hutterian Brethren (German: Hutterische Brüder), are . In their new home the Hutterites where joined by a few more Hutterites who could flee from Habsburg .. On May 29, , the first episode of American Colony: Meet the Hutterites aired on the National Geographic Channel. On May 29th, the first of ten episodes of “American Colony: Meet the Hutterites” aired on National Geographic Channel. A film crew spent months filming the King . The elders from Canada pay a visit to the colony, and impose the worst punishment a Hutterite can ever receive -- a shunning.
Hofer carved out a small slice of fame when his work was featured in the Western Producer last week, a newspaper known to every farm home west of Manitoba.
Some are still totally against it and stuff, like the minister and stuff. Between his work and a recent television show, this traditional, patriarchal community of about 50, across North America, mostly on the Prairies, has been left increasingly exposed to a modern world creeping its way in through near-universal Internet access and the cell phones that are now as ubiquitous among young Hutterites as in mainstream society. This week has been weirdly pivotal in Hutterite history. In response to the airing of the Natural Geographic reality television show American Colony: Meet the Hutterites, a collection of Hutterite bishops released their first ever press release.
American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
The religious leaders said the show was contrived and portrayed them negatively and inaccurately. It featuring the devotees drinking, swearing and arguing.
Hutterites are a conservative, agrarian Christian people that live communally. Their year old way of life has been passed down, little changed, from eastern Europe. Most Hutterites settled in Canada about years ago. Several colonies are also thriving in the U.
Individuals own no property.
- The Shunning
- An inside view of Hutterite country as religious community opens up to cameras
Their clothing, possessions, food and bills are all provided by the commmunity. There are three main Hutterite groupings, and Manitoba is home to some of the least conservative. As the technology adapted, so did they. When computers and GPS units came to be installed in combine harvesters, they learned how to use them. Then came cell phones, and then the Internet. Hofer has the latest near-paper-thin touchscreen phone, like most of his peers.
He said most of the homes in his community have computers and filtered Internet access — his colony even has its own network. Kenny Wollmann, who is a practising Hutterite in Manitoba, said the Internet has had a massive impact on their culture. Hofer captured this growing tension between the traditional and the modern using a Canon 60D.
Despite the outlet his hobby provided, Mr. Hofer said he never felt like he fit in with the other young men in his colony, who seemed more interested in hunting, fishing and watching hockey.
All the guys are macho. Last weekend, his sister — who had left the colony when she was 16 — came home for a visit. Hofer knew he had a ride. After that on Sunday morning … and I just pretended I went to breakfast so I left my house like I usually do and I ran around the house and took my bike and then biked out to her car which was waiting about a quarter mile out of the colony.
If so, this would not be unusual, Ms. In some communities, females are starting to outnumber males. Before, when Hutterites left the colony, many of them eventually returned home, but that is changing. Kirkby said this vulnerability makes work like Mr.
Most Hutterites are actually not opposed to photography. Rather, their communal philosophy is anathema to the self-promotion that has become endemic to Mr.
To see one person elevated through such exposure seems prideful. His success is problematic in a culture that restricts individual expression and personal property, Mr. Modern technology is our greatest fear. They followed him around Calgary for several days, recording the young man exploring his new life.
The completed film is expected to be aired sometime in the fall. In front of them, Mr.Elders Meeting - American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
Hofer said he meant no disrespect by his photographs. National Post A practicing Hutterite in Manitoba, Kenny Wollmann, answered questions about how modern technology is affecting his community.
Hutterites are a religions group descended from Eastern Europe who practice a closed, communal and agrarian way of life. Believed to number as many as 50, most of their colonies are scattered across the prairies. Wollmann responded by email to several questions posed to him by National Post reporter Jen Gerson.
The following transcript has been edited. What kind of technology is allowed in Hutterite communities? Is it safe to say that communities have become more liberal in adopting new technology? Keep in mind that I come from a more progressive community, so I am trying hard not to speak for those who are more traditional because I realize their contribution is equally important in the overall scheme of things. I cannot call to mind a specific technology that is officially banned in Hutterite communities across the board at present.
Television and radio used to be, but now there are communities who have both. Some chose to say yes to some technologies, while others say no to the same item; some will say no to TV, but at the same time they may say yes to the Internet. That said, all technologies are regulated to some degree. Ideally, the pros and cons of each technology should be carefully considered as to how it will affect our lifestyle.
"American Colony: Meet the Hutterites" The Shunning (TV Episode ) - IMDb
For example, in my particular community cell phones are provided to all members, male and female, who have drivers licenses or another specific need in which a cell phone would make their work easier.
Some young people manage to acquire them on their own, but this is strongly discouraged because they are still immature, and to prevent foolish behaviour. Bertha Hofer, a mother of three children who was featured prominently in the series, said the first three episodes were accurate depictions but then producers began presenting them with story lines. She said they rejected some ideas but went along with others.
We just fell for it," she said. Hofer said the elders from Canada told them they wanted the colony members to tell the truth. But Hofer said she also feared that she would be punished after the show followed her and her daughter Claudia looking at a college in Great Falls. She said she is fighting for a full education for her children, while the elders believe in an eighth-grade education for most colony members, she said. The ed "We're just waiting to see what will happen, it's just day to day," she said.
Colony spokeswoman Mary-Ann Kirkby said the levels of Hutterite education differ by colony and by sect. In general, she said, the elders are not against education but are concerned that young Hutterites who leave for public school may never return to the colony. Claudia Hofer wrote in a statement released by the Hutterite colony through a spokeswoman that most of the scenes she was in were staged and scripted.
Another colony member, Wesley Hofer, said in another statement released by the colony that an episode in which he was rushed to a hospital for what was believed to be a heart attack was staged.
Collins denied creating story lines, saying that life on the colony is so foreign to a newcomer that there is no way to make up stories for them, and they wouldn't have gone along with it, anyway. Collins also said he believes the statements from colony members disavowing the show were coerced by elders who have threatened members with excommunication if they don't write them. John Hofer said the statements were written voluntarily.
Bertha Hofer said she was not coerced to write a statement, though she said she would not speak of others' statements, including her daughter's.