hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:12:33 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information

Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Top Left Corner

Top Right Corner

Top Right Corner
Home Top English | Français   Sitemap Search Partners Help
Home Bottom
  • Home
  • Land of Opportunity
  • Settlement
  • Rural Life
  • Links
  • Resources
  • Contact Us!
  • Heritage Community Foundation
  • Heritage Community Foundation Logo

The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

CKUA Radio Network logo

Visit Alberta Source!

Government of Alberta

Government of Canada


Ethnic Settlement: Hutterites, Part One

Listen to this Heritage Trail

Hutterites first started moving to Alberta from South Dakota in 1917. As pacifists, they wished to avoid service in the American military when conscription was forced upon them.

It was not the first time Hutterites migrated to avoid persecution for their beliefs and communal lifestyle.

As historian David Leonard explains, it's been a part of their heritage since the 1600s.

Well, the Hutterites were originally from various locations in Germany and the Low Countries, and Austro-Hungary, in the 17th century, during the Reformation period. And they took advantage of Gutenberg's new invention, the printing press, to spread literacy among the people, and many smaller groups of people spread around the rural areas of Germany began to read the Bible on their own, and take certain passages of it and try to apply them to their everyday life.

Like many people of the time, those who eventually became Hutterites began to question the practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

And they took certain passages of the Bible, like Acts 2:44, where it said, "And all that believed were together and held things in common," lived commonly, like the first century Christians, it was felt, by many. And also, in Romans, 12:2, they read, "be not conformed to this world."
And so, led by an individual named Jacob Hutter, they refused to conform, refused to enter the army. They were persecuted. They developed larger cells for self-protection, as well as living communally, until the 18th century, when the more enlightened Czaress of Russia, Catherine the Great, granted them lands in Moravia, and other areas of her empire, where she agreed that they could live according to their own faith.

But later czars were less tolerant and tried to force the Hutterites to give up their faith and take up arms.

So, by the 1870s, the Hutterites began immigrating to the plains of North America, where they would be free to farm and practice their beliefs without interference.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

Close this window

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.