Out in the rugged West there are colonies of people called Hutterites who embody the pioneer spirit but live entirely removed from the modern world. The Hutterites are Anabaptist farmers and ranchers – close cousins of the Amish – who, after centuries of persecution in Europe, found religious freedom in North America in the 1870s. Their central belief in a kind of Christian communism informs everything they do. They work, worship, and eat together, and have no personal possessions. They do use computers and high-tech machinery; but they speak an old Austrian German dialect, sew their own clothes, and shun television, radio, or anything else that might let in the temptations of worldly materialism.
Hutterites live rigidly structured lives that leave little room for individual expression, but they give this up willingly in exchange for the strong community support that promises spiritual salvation. The Hutterites of North America are this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Laura Wilson, photographer
Gertrude Huntington, anthropologist and co-author of “The Hutterites in North America” and co-author of “Amish Children”
Samul Hoffer, ex-Hutterite and author of “The Hutterites: Lives and Images of a Communal People”
Tony Waldner, Hutterite in North Dakota, German school teacher and Bookbinder.