American Colony: Meet the Hutterites (TV Series – ) - IMDb
“For us to survive, we got to be connected to the latest technology to be Technology is seeping into this Dariusleut Hutterite colony outside irrigation systems, has been a boon to the colony, which has grown Instead of connecting on Facebook with her new phone, Michelle said she prefers to meet up. Young Hutterite women from the Standard Colony walk across a for having " established that the integrity of the communal systems of this. Inside look at religious group has some swearing, alcohol. Read Common Sense Media's American Colony: Meet the Hutterites review, age.
But overall, it is series that offers an interesting and voyeuristic glimpse into a world that most Americans know very little about. Continue reading Show less Talk to your kids about Families can talk about the Hutterites. Like the Amish and the Mennonites, this religious community has its roots in Germany. What are the differences between these religious cultures?
What do you know about their religious persecution? Does this type of discrimination happen today? Much is made about the differences between religious groups like the Hutterites and mainstream America. What are some of the stereotypes that exist about these religious communities? What are some of the similarities between the Hutterites and people who live outside of these colonies? The Hutterites ethical or prescriptive beliefs—their values, the way they perceive is the right way to live their lives in relation to one another, and the ultimate goals they want to achieve—are again closely woven from the fabric of their religion.
Faith in God, community, love, honesty, cooperation, forgiveness, and helpfulness shown in service to one another are values that they seek to live out in their daily existence.
To be sure, the Hutterites exhibit a number of qualities which are in line with broader American culture. It was clear to this observer that they share a number of values with their neighbors and fellow citizens outside their colonies. Such shared values include honesty, helpfulness, family security, friendship, politeness, and responsibility.
The center of their value system, both individually and corporately viewed, is God. The Hutterite norm of community, defined in terms of community of goods and cooperating with and serving fellow members, is clearly an outgrowth of their belief in and valuing of God and his will for their lives as revealed in Acts 2 and other Biblical passages.
In contrast to wider American life, little emphasis is found in the Hutterite colony on competition, on seeking a comfortable, prosperous life as individuals or nuclear family units, on personal freedom, on ambition, or on independence. Clearly, as this researcher found, there is a sharp contrast between valuing the individual and valuing the community, indicative of a substantive value conflict between mainstream American culture and the Hutterite subculture.
What can we learn from the Hutterites that is framed by this substantive value conflict? Imagine, if you will, what we as neighborhoods, as work groups, as towns and cities, and as a nation might become if we were to seek more of a balance of these rich value objects.
As difficult as it would be to achieve, might this not be a desired goal, a positive aim worthy of investment and of time and energy—to improve the overall quality of our life together as a people, whether we be young or old, black, Hispanic or white, Catholic, Jew or Protestant? Let me initially share some observations regarding family life in a Hutterite colony. The expectation is that everyone except in rare cases such as illness, for example will marry, usually shortly after baptism, which occurs between the ages of 19 and The sexual norm for the youth, which appears to be violated only in rare cases, is sex within marriage.
Premarital and extramarital sexual relations are strictly forbidden. Once married, each couple is expected, indeed encouraged by the community, to have children since children are so prized, both in terms of their innocent new lives and as future adult members who will perpetuate the colony way of life.
American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
The average number of children per family is between five and six. The Hutterites have a ready-made child care system at hand.
At the same time every mother—as is the case with all members—has specific tasks in the wider colony, from cooking, dishwashing, laundry, and the making of almost all of the clothing her family wears, to the occasional colony-wide slaughter and processing of hundreds of chickens and ducks in marathons of two to four days.
Aunts and grandparents are also regularly engaged in child care. I observed all of these relatives tending young children in my brief stay in Spring Prairie Colony. In fact, one of the most delightful experiences I had was to go with a grandfather to baby-sit his grandchildren several evenings after dinner while the mother and grandmother were completing their work of dishwashing in the community kitchen.
Every woman engages in dishwashing every eleventh week, according to one community informant. While child-sitting, the grandfather and I read to and played with the children, who were as lively and curious as are my own grandchildren.
I asked one mother who is 35 years of age with seven children, how she could keep up with and care for so many children. Her response was an interesting one and to the point. We have all our clothing, meals, and child care provided by the colony. What more could we need? Further contributing to family stability is the fact that relations between husband and wife are viewed as sacred. This relation has some distinctive features, arising out of Hutterite religious beliefs and community traditions: This reflects a classic patriarchal pattern.
This prohibition is clearly and forcefully stated in the Ordnung, the rules that have governed community life since the sixteenth century. In relation to this, we might well ask the question: How do couples who are unhappy or dissatisfied with one another maintain lifetime monogamy?
Clues to the answer to this question certainly lie in the fact mentioned earlier, that religion permeates and is at the center of every Hutterites life.
The belief that Christ forbade divorce is for them a major deterrent to separation and divorce. As part of this no-divorce ethos, mention must be made again of the classic extended family pattern operative in a Hutterite colony. In nearly every family situation there is daily interaction between at least three generations. These tasks require nearly every adult member to be engaged intensely in colony life.
One gets a sense of being part of one large extended family of 40 to 50 adults every day, so close is the cooperation and accomplishment of the work at hand. All of these socio-religious factors—the strength of religious norms, the expectation of marriage and the corollary of a large number of children, the provision of family support through a very effective child care system providing relief for parents who might otherwise be stressed by large numbers living in relatively small quarters basically a living-dining room and all the rest bedroomsthe clear authority structure, the devotion of husband and wife to each other, the stricture of no divorce, and the religious and social resources made available to insure that family ties are maintained, including an effective extended family network of support—all of these factors assist in the achievement of family stability which I observed and has been well documented in respected studies.
This is not to say that the Hutterites are free of problems in their colony and family life. As the head minister told me: So we must work at it, keeping our colonies and families strong and thriving, day by day. It is an ongoing challenge.
But with assurance that God has and will provide for what we need in every way, in terms of personal, social and material need, we trust that our ways will be preserved, if it is his will.
First, the Hutterites remind us of the importance of extended family ties, of the strength that is derived from regular and meaningful cross-generational relationships. I observed this firsthand and wondered how we as mainstream Americans might recapture more of the richness of at least three generational family ties in the midst of our modern urban, industrial, information age. What new forms of extended family patterns and participation can we create as we move into the twenty-first century?
Secondly, we are reminded by the Hutterites of the importance of putting the needs of dependent children and the welfare of the community ahead of our own personal and often self-centered concerns.
Imagine the difference that might make in our relations with our children, our spouses, other relatives, and our neighbors if we were to emulate their behavior in this crucial area of our lives.
Thirdly, the Hutterites clearly demonstrate the significance of religious belief as a unifying factor in family as well as community life. Religion also assists parents in the moral training of their children; hence it often enables youth to avoid some of the pitfalls that hamper their future development, as well as giving assistance in the form of counseling to marriage partners who are experiencing difficulties. A third area of Hutterite life and experience which might well have wider American sociocultural application falls in the domain of social welfare, and particularly the treatment of the elderly.
This subject was addressed earlier in the paper see Note 4so only a few summary insights need to be highlighted here. The Hutterites, as with other traditional cultures, revere the elderly in their colonies. Always made to feel a part of colony life, no matter how little labor they can contribute or how dependent they are due to illness of infirmity, the elderly clearly have no fear for their future.
They know that they will be loved and cared for until the end of their days and that care, in so far as it is humanly possible, will be given them in the familiar surroundings of home and colony life.
“Life in a Hutterite Colony” by Donald W. Huffman | Hutterites
One can imagine how the quality of American life and society might be enhanced if we were to regularly express deep respect and genuine care for the elderly in the context of our homes and institutions. With the documented aging of our population, ever larger numbers of the elderly are found in every sphere of the common life—family relations, the economy, politics, and religious life. In many of these areas the wealth of experience and knowledge that the elderly represent in wider American society remains largely untapped, largely because basic and genuine respect for them is lacking.
In this respect, it is clear that we can learn much from the Hutterites. Each colony insures that every elderly member is included in meaningful social sphe res and activities, taking into account their interests and needs, so that the worth and dignity of their lives is affirmed to the very end.
The following insights are drawn from my experience as a participant observer in the Spring Prairie Colony as well as from published research on the Hutterites.
On the basis of these sources both critical and appreciative assessments are made, to the ends of placing Hutterite colony life in broader perspective as well as encouraging further reflection and research on this fascinating, dynamic subculture in our midst.
To be sure, life in a Hutterite colony is not perfect; it is not a utopia, as their minister reminded me a number of times. Most of us in wider society, including myself, would have problems living in a similarly isolated world where individual freedom is stifled and where absolute conformity to centuries-old rules determine how one lives from day to day. Hostetler is perceptive as he elaborates on this point: For persons who have been raised to maximize the self, it would be a prison and no less so for those who equate private ownership with the Christian religion.
They cannot hold leadership positions in the colony other than the head cook and head seamstress. These are the highest colony positions to which women can aspire.
They do not have the vote when it comes to election of colony leaders such as minister, steward and farm manager. The women walk behind the men on the way to all colony functions such as the evening worship service. They obediently wait upon the men. The home is their primary environment and the area where they have the most power in their lives. To be sure, the Hutterite colonies themselves will no doubt continue to experience difficulties, including tensions between themselves and those who compete with them for scarce resources.
A variety of fundamentalists and sects will continue to try to convert their weaker members. The above critical comments suggest that it would be difficult to transplant Hutterite culture and institutional forms directly into the mainstream world. My own observations, supported by earlier studies done on the Hutterites, make it clear that it is the very separation from wider society and the intentionally limited size of the colony which make it possible for the Hutterites to both maintain and perpetuate their way of life within the context of the modern, largely secular society which surrounds them.American Colony Meet the Hutterites 2012 Season 1 Episode 3
Having addressed this subject at some length in the last section, I would add that I concur with Hostetler who draws his Hutterite Life to a close with the following appreciative assessment: Aspects of Hutterite community life are instructive for the modern world. The Hutterites demonstrate a remarkably stable pattern of communal living in a socially unstable world.
Social stability is achieved by a combination of factors. Material, spiritual, intellectual, social and psychological needs are met in a community that has an orderly predictable existence. The system does not require the individual to deny the basic human drives, but to subject them to a community of love that is both human and spiritual.
The expectations for the individual are clearly defined, and the individual is able to meet these expectations. The Hutterites are successful in training and preparing their children for Communal living. Socialization is consistent in all age groups. A certain amount of human failure is tolerable within each age stage, while strong reinforcement is provided by the group. The Hutterites are effective in managing their adolescents, including them in family, work, and social responsibilities, and the young are able to meet the standards set by the community.
The Hutterites are able to accept material innovations without altering the cohesion of their community life. Members are not anxiety-ridden about impending social upheaval. They experience a high degree of belonging and few doubts about their basic religious beliefs.
They are careful to distinguish between changes that improve the economic viability of the community and changes that would result in social erosion.
They are one of the few subcultures in the Western world that maintain a culture of austerity—a way of living with less, and doing so with dignity and purposepp. My own final thoughts: The Hutterites remind those of us in mainstream America of some virtues we have lost or are in process of losing, of some beliefs and ways of life that, while yet part of our personal and social fabric, are growing more faint. And they remind us that some of the more traditional beliefs and values yet have power to maintain dynamic communities.
Four hundred seventy years, and counting. Somehow a prophecy of another four hundred seventy years of Hutterite colony life—and then some—does not seem unrealistic, though as John Waldner, the head minister, told me: His research interests include subcultures and the sociology of religion.
This is the distinctive feature of Hutterite Anaptism, which clearly distinguishes them from their spiritual cousins, the Amish and the Mennonites. That the extended family is truly effective in a Hutterite colony is attested to by their care of the elderly and the infirm.
The Hutterites—who do not participate in the Social Security system— have, as do the Amish, their own social welfare system.
The Hutterites meet Hérouxville
They do not draw on state or federal government in this regard. Those who cannot work due to age or infirmity, for example, are cared for by colony members who can and do work on their behalf. If colony members can work or be active an hour a day or more, they are encouraged to do so.
If that is not possible, they are not judged negatively, but treated with great respect and concern as integral members of the community. In Western experience, it has been said that no group treats their elderly with greater respect than the Anabaptist believers, whether they be Huttrites, Amish, or Mennonites.
To demonstrate this genuine respect, even at the point of the death of one of the colony elders, Hutterites attended the wake and funeral of an 80 year old man in Spring Prairie Colony during the summer of Such widespread support at significant life points is not unusual, I was told by my Hutterian informants, several of whom were becoming my friends.
The Hutterites are strongly committed to maximizing productivity in colony life. At the heart of each sphere of economic activity—whether it be in grain and milk production, or in the raising of hogs and turkeys for the market—the main concern is for the efficiency in achieving the highest financial outcome possible in existing markets.
The underlying question and concern often expressed to the author during his visit to the colony was: There are now three major groupings among the Hutterites, with the Schmiededleut branch being the most progressive. The other main branches located in both the United States and Canada are the Lehrerleut and the Dariusleut. The fact is that the economic life of a typical Hutterite colony is a form of controlled interaction with the surrounding community within which it exists.
As noted, the colony regularly markets its products of soybeans and sunflowers, milk and eggs, and turkeys and hogs each year. At the same time the colony purchases needed products from local markets, including farm machinery, building supplies, shoes, fabrics for making clothes, and paper products.
Their religious beliefs mandate separation from the outside world to enable them to realize their central tenet of community of goods, which for them is at the heart of what it is to be Christian.
Since access to outside markets is limited to the carefully selected colony steward in consultation with the head minister and council of elders, one can see how influences of outside markets, and indeed nearly all aspects of the wider culture, are carefully filtered out for Hutterite colony members.
This requirement of a high school equivalency education is not found in every state in which Hutterite colonies are located.
- Hutterites embrace technology for business, education
I discovered this firsthand when the minister of Spring Prairie Colony took me to the White Rock Colony in South Dakota, the colony which created Spring Prairie in and from which the minister himself had migrated. South Dakota, to date, does not require Hutterite youth to move beyond the traditional ninth grade level.