Ask a Hutterite

The blog of a real, live Hutterite.


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Reflection: Elder Gerry Oleman on “Healing from Colonization”

Elder Gerry Oleman. Member of the St’at’imc Nation from Tsal’alh (Shalalth B.C.)

Elder Gerry Oleman is a member of the St’at’imc Nation from Tsal’alh (Shalalth, B.C.)

Last fall Elder Gerry Oleman spoke on campus at Brandon University. After my last class of the day, I struggled with whether or not I should bother checking it out because I had errands and needed to make it home on time for Susan to use the car for her weekend classes. Besides, I was exhausted and running on mere fumes of my last caffeine fix–an unfortunate addition to my life since I’ve gone back to school. Since noon, I was mixing up my lowercase Bs and Ds: a sure sign that my brain wasn’t in learning mode anymore. Yes, it was Friday afternoon. Continue reading


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Reflection: Interview with CBC’s Nora Young on Spark

cbc2

“Being interviewed guarantees being misunderstood.”

So says the Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell in a rare interview with Jian Ghomeshi aired in early June on CBC Radio’s Q. My own experience with a variety of media corroborates this. Continue reading


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In memoriam: Prediger Samuel Gross

Sam Vetter's Obituary

Last week the Manitoba Hutterite community mourned the loss of a beloved Servant of the Word. Prediger Samuel Gross passed away on June the 12th following a struggle with cancer. He served the church and his community for over 40 years as a leader and minister. Sam Vetter was widely respected for being well-read and his gift for communicating the gospel message. Continue reading


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Reflection: American Colony (Episode 3: Rockin’ Road Trip)

A special evening

Photograph by National Geographic Channels / Collins Avenue Inc.

American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
Episode 3: Rockin’ Road Trip
Aired: June 12, 2012

There are two stories unfolding alongside each other in this episode. To begin, the young people of King Ranch secure permission to attend a wedding in Canada. Secondly, the married ladies of the community are planning a weekend get-away with their husbands. Both storylines are fraught with challenges and conflict. In this reflection I will only discuss themes presented by the first strand, but also explore discoveries regarding the integrity and authenticity of American Colony‘s filming and editing process. Continue reading


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Reflection: American Colony (Episode 2: The Shunning)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels/ Collins Avenue Inc.

American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
Episode 3: The Shunning
Aired:June 5, 2012

“Shunning means, we want no part of you.” [Bertha]

“Actually, the main reason we go to school is to play sports.” [Carver]

“I hope the elders are happy for [sic] what they did.” [Claudia]

As I begin my second episode reflection, I am contemplating several responses to the first. I was worried that my perspective would be too far removed from the Dariusleut viewpoint, but as one reader pointed out, anybody who listens with a careful ear to the Hutterite teachings, which all Hutterites share, should see that something doesn’t line up with the American Colony portrayal. Writing this episode’s reflection has been challenging because the show deals with a spiritual concept in a very secular manner. Continue reading


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Reflection: American Colony (Episode 1: Harvest Party Scandal)

Breaking bread

Photograph by National Geographic Channels/ Collins Avenue Inc.

American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
Episode 1: Harvest Party Scandal
Aired: May 29, 2012

Beginning this series of reflections sounded like such a wonderful idea—an opportunity to respond with thoughtfulness to something many people feel strongly about. I hoped it would be something of a Verbeigeah, that I would be able to do it in passing. Reality has settled in and cleared away all remnants of this delusion. Continue reading


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Reflection: American Colony

American Colony: Meet the Hutterites

This undated image released by National Geographic Channels shows a Hutterite community near Lewistown, Mont. “American Colony: Meet the Hutterites,” is a National Geographic ‘reality’ series about a small religious community in rural Montana.

I have spent days thinking about it and finally decided to go for it. I will be producing an episode-by-episode personal reflection series based on the ‘reality show,’ American Colony: Meet the Hutterites, directed by Jeff Collins and aired on the National Geographic Channel. When we first learned of the show, I helped put together a general response to be posted on hutterites.org, but it has become evident that a deeper exploration is possible, if not required.
Continue reading