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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta THE ttTHBRIDGE HIKAtD Wtdmidoy, 6, W3 Hutterites Southern Alberta Part 1 of a 4-part special report A different drummer By GREG MdNTYRE Herald Staff Writer If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is'because he hears a different drummer The Hutterites in their simple, homemade dress have been in conflict with the society around them for most of their 400-year his- tory. A Christian sect believing in pacifism and communal living they live by different values than most of their neighbors. In the words of poet Hen- ry David Thoreau. they step to the music of a different drummer. Ths story of the Hutterian Brethren is a story of a clash of values that started a Swiss peasant, Jacob Hutter, burned at the stake at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1536 during a wave of reli- gious persecution that fol- lowed the Peasants' Revolt. In the three years before his death, Hutter established many of the principles that are followed by Alberta's 000 Hutterites today. Church of said Hutter. "is the commu- nity of the believing and the pious, the people of God, who do and have abstained from sinful life." The centre of the conflict is the Hutterite belief that society is imperfect and that living a Christian life cannot be reconciled with it. Hutterites live in colonies of about 100 persons cut off as much as possible to avoid what they consider corrupt- ing influence of society. Out of this isolation has grown complaints that the Hutterites do not support the businesses, schools and other facilities of the larger society. Complaints against the Hutterites in Alberta at first centred around the Hutterite school system and the Hut- terian belief in pacifism. Recently, however, most of the protest has been aim- ed by rural Albertans against the Hutterite hold- ing of land. The Hutterites believe, ac- cording to the second chap- ter of the book of Acts "aE that believed were together and had all things in com- mon." Groups living communal- ly according to that scrip- ture formed in the 1500s in Europe. In 1525, the Peasants' Re- volt, led by militant groups of anabaptists those who believe in adult baptism was crushed and all ana- baptists, militant and paci- fist, were persecuted. A pacifist group, believing in communal living accord- ing to scripture fled to Mo- ravia in present-day Czecho- slovakia. The group expanded and scattered and in 1770 took advantage of an invitation to inhabit unimproved parts of Russia. The Hutterites were ex- empt from military sendee and enjoyed relative pros- perity in Russia until 1870 when military exemption was withdrawn. In 1373 Hutterite delega- tions travelled to the United States to investigate the pos- sibility of establishing col- onies there. The president of the U.S. pointed out that the consti- tution guaranteed freedom of religion, but that no group could be given special military service exemption. The brethren came any- way, settling in South Da- kota by 1879. Many later be- came members of the Men- nonite Church The Mennonites and Hut- terites are nearly identical in religious beliefs, except that the Hutterites live com- munally. In 1898 during the Spanish- American War. the Hutter- ites were persecuted be- cause they refused military participation. The First World War brought another wave of ha- rassment. The Hutterites looked to Canada and between 1913 and 1920 eight colonies set- tled in Manitoba and anoth- er 12 established in Alberta. Some remained behind in the U.S. and today are found mainly in the Dakotas and Montana. The school issue raised sparks for the first time in Alberta in 1920. People set- tled near Hutterite colonies objected to sending their children to public schools on the colonies, and to paying taxes to the schools. The issue was reversed in 1927 when Hutterites near Pincher Creek started with- drawing land from the school division to set up their own schools. A citizens protest against the withdrawal of Hutterite support of the public schools f o 11 o w ed. Non Hutterites claimed they needed Hutter- ite school taxes and children of the sect should attend off- colony schools. But even before the school controversy, Hutterite non- resistance pro voked hostile reaction. The federal government was criticized for admitting the Hutterites who were un- willing to fight in the First World War. The sect did not serve dur- ing the First World War, but by the Second World War they were treated as con- scientious objectors and ac- cepted non-combat, alternate service making war sup- plies, in reforestation and other projects However, this exemption aroused bitter feelings. The Canadian Legion, farm groups and mass meetings forced the Alberta government to enact the Land Sales Prohibition Act in 1942 the forerunner of the Communal Properties Act which was repealed by the Lougheed government March 1 this year. The 1942 legislation, which was amended several times during its life, restricted the size and location of Hutter- ite land holdings. The Lougheed government abolished the act on the grounds that it discrimin- ates against one religious group. The government said the legislation was in conflict BLACK DIAMOND 2ND BASELINE I Warner with its 1972 Alberta Bill of Rights. Most of the friction be- tween Hutterites and other rural Albertans has focused on the school issue, rath- er than around the commu- nal ownership of land. An organization called the Southern Alberta Develop- ment and Protective Asso- ciation was formed about 20 years ago and for several jears struggled to prevent the formation of a school on the Brant Hutterite Colony, between High River and Vul- can. The association failed, but continues to promote restric- tions on Hutterite schools. The latest public activity by the group was a meeting in Fort Macleod in March at which Willow Creek ratepaj- ers passed a resolution call- ing on the province to close Hutterite schools. The minister of education ignored the resolution since it did not come from school authorities in the area. At present most school boards have reached agree- ment with the Hutterites to operate public schools on the colonies. If a shortage of pupils causes the small Hutterite schools to be a burden on taxpayers, the school board may impose a supplemen- tary requisition for the up- keep of the colony schools Many colonies now pay that extra levy. THE ELM SPRING OR TEACHER GROUP COLONIES OLD ELM SPRING. EATON, SOUTH DAKOTA, 1877 Rockport Alexandria S 0 Old El-n (201 Magrath Alta 1318 florK Lake Rock lake (251 Wrentham Alta, 1935 T Elm arksion S 0 Elm (151 Magrath Atia, Be C'vstal Springs Magrath fenny or Elm Spring J4) Warner Aha 1932 bjnnysire Warnpr Alia 1936 Sow T.IV (00) 8rco.cs Alta 1961 MilforrJ Wurnn S 0 Milford (Buck Ranch) (13) Rav nond Alia 1918 Vtiam (121 t Dayton A t Monarch. Monarch Alta 1948 (renegade colony not recognised) McMillan 11 Caylev Alta 1939 Valley Sa-- Handbills Hanna Alta 1954 Roseglen H.ida Alta. '969 Augusta Mont Medicmp Hal 1951 Parkland (75 Parkland Alta 1169 Somhbend (61; Alliance 1962 valley (81) O'jnihfller 971 1369 THC WOLF CREEK OR DARIUS GROUP OF COLONIES WOLF CREEK S. D. 1874 1 T Stunt Co S 0 Beadle To S r SD 1905 1318 1 1899 1905 Range Monr r Albpna I 1918 1913 I R side G pn Alia I Granjrn (S) Granurn Alta I93O Rosebud (Rrd ar-d) (29> Rosebud Alta 1920 Fairview 128) Crossdeld Alto (431 l-ira-a Alta 1949 (231 Cluny Alia 1961 Athabasca 106'' West fialey I3M Cardston 1929 Brocket (46) Pincher Creek Alta 1948 Holt (421 trma Alta 1949 Mixbjrn (58) MannviJte Alta 1960 Spring Poml (65) Pinener Creek Alta 1963 CLV Vork M8) Mavbu.t Alta __L Pmcher Creek 1211 Pincher Creek AIM 1930 C C Calev 1 1 1 Alta 1936 n Ranch (811 Srotiord (49) Ft Sask Alia 1953 flam Lsve (701 Two Him Alts Alta 1956 Holden Holder! Alta 1968 V nil (381 burin q Alta 1930 Lakeside (10) Crawford Alia 1935 Easl Cardston (31 Cardston 1918 Pmphill (221 Red Deer Alia 1947 Sprmgcreek (55) Walsh Alia 1955 (.eedale (74) Rimhpv 1969 (771 Worrm 197O Felqer (6> tethbridge Alia 1927 Veteran ISO) Veteran Alta 1953 (67) Cliva Atta 1967 VVillowrreel I36I Red Willow Alta 1947 iVildxvood (61) Wildwood 1962 Richards S 0 1906 1918 Wilson (Richards) 137) Wilson Siding Alta 1918 Sprmgwalf 07) Alta 1918 Pibroch (47) Pibroch Alta 1952 Waterloo Ciai Hillspnnq Alta 1161 Uiav Alt I9S7 (5) Glcnunocl Alia HiiKley HuxIPV Alia 1957 Smoky (71) Smoky Lake Alta 1968 Turin (79) Turin Alta 1971 Tornngton 1969 Carnrose (40) Camrose Alts 1948 Thompson (341 Glertwood Alia 1944 I Nfw Springva'A Beiseker Alta 1936 ferrybank (7) Ponokn Alia 1948 I Sandhill! (44) Beiseker Alta 1949 OB (53) Mirwtyne 1954 Ribstone (56) Alta 1957 Warburg (W) Warburg AIU 1962 I82i Turin 1965 (7fl) Mwnville Alia ;