'We want to be different': A look at Hutterite life in Saskatchewan
Published Thursday, December 1, 2016 11:50AM EST
They have their own language, dress code and way of life.
Hutterites have been a part of Canada for decades, but most of us have little knowledge of what daily life is like on a colony. The Sunny Dale colony, located near Perdue, Sask., is an example of the Hutterites’ devotion to their own culture, family and language.
In 1987, the Hillsvale Hutterite colony at Cut Knife, Sask. branched off to create the Sunny Dale colony near Perdue, Sask.
Today, more than 100 Hutterites call the colony home. They take pride in being diverse, self-sufficient and sticking to their beliefs.
“That’s what drives us every day, is our religion and our work,” Sunny Dale colony manager Johnny B. Wurz tells CTV Saskatoon during a tour of the colony.
Hutterites lead very traditional farm lives. Both men and women have many tasks. Hutterite men and women eat their meals and go to church separately.
“The women never step in to where the men are, and the men never enter into where the women are,” says Wurz. “Our women are actually above us, in a way. They’re never below us, we couldn’t be without them.”
Wurz says there are approximately 50 jobs on the Sunny Dale colony, where Hutterites work at the coffee roaster, canola crush plant or the wood shop. Each colony enterprise has a manager. But paycheques don’t exist on a colony: All the money goes into one bank account and each family, depending on household numbers, gets an allowance to spend as they please.
Hutterites 15 years of age and younger attend German and English school (Hutterites speak a German dialect). They finish school once they’ve completed Grade 8.
“We get in in the morning, and in the afternoon we play and when we’re done five minutes of recess, we do something (with) art,” says Benjamin Wurz, who’s in Grade 4.
Hutterites begin dating around 18 years of age, and in order to do so, they begin visiting other colonies.
They don’t wear jewelry, so no wedding rings to signify marital status. However, when they get married, the husband grows a beard.
Hutterites have only recently begun to embrace technology. Televisions are not allowed, but the elders have given permission to use cell phones and computers to communicate and stay competitive in business, especially farming.
Some people have criticized Hutterites for buying up much of western Canadian farmland. But colony manager Wurz says Hutterites make use of the land. And, he says, a good community relationship with neighbours and nearby towns is very important to the Hutterites.
“We’ve got 35 families here, divide that amongst 25,000 acres, that’s less than 1,000 acres per family,” he says. “Nobody looks at it that way.”
The modest Hutterite dress code hasn’t changed much over the years, as families stay true to their culture. Women spend much of the winter sewing new clothes.
“That’s how we are,” says Wurz. “We want to be different. We want to be known as the Hutterites.”
With a report by CTV Saskatoon’s Julie Clark