A Hutterite girl bowls at a bowling alley.

Students from Deerboine Colony stopped at the Minnedosa Bowling Lanes for some glow bowling on their way home from a farm safety day at Cool Spring Colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Decade at Deerboine Hutterite Colony

2009 - Present


Deerboine Colony

Group 2, Schmiedeleut

Est. 1959

Population 68 (approx)

Mother Colony - Riverdale Colony


Deerboine Colony sits nestled between the Assiniboine River and the northern hills of the river valley, in the western prairies of Manitoba, Canada. A chance encounter with women in the colony garden while out exploring one day in early May 2009 began a long-term project photographing Deerboine Colony and eventually Schmiedeleut Hutterites more broadly. Over the past decade Deerboine has gone through the ups, downs and changes that face outside villages, towns, and cities. Members have left, some have returned. There have been marriages, baptisms, birth’s, funerals, celebrations and tragedies. Kids have grown up, smart phones have replaced cellphones, a carpentry shop burned to the ground, a new machine shop was built, farmland in the valley has flooded (multiple times) and life has carried on for the 68 (approximately) residents.

Four Hutterite women stand in a field of canola in Manitoba.

Rebecca, Deborah, Dahlia and Lana, diene (low german for unmarried young women) from Deerboine Colony stand in a field of canola at sunset.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite woman bakes bread as sunlight streaks in through a window.

Streaks of sunlight pour through a window as Tiffany Hofer checks on buns baking for Deerboine Colony's annual harvest sale.

Deerboine Colony - 2009

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Hutterite child with a mop in the children's dining room at Deerboine Hutterite Colony.

Laura Waldner in the Essenschul (kids dining room) mopping up after lunch.

Deerboine Colony - 2017
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Hutterite children playing in the dining room on a Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Joel Wurtz races past his sister Nicole as she lies on a serving cart in the kitchen while their mother Katherina prepares the essenshul (eating school) for the colony children before lunch. 

Deerboine Colony - 2010

 

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A Hutterite teen boy and girl talking in the dining room of their colony.

Josh Wurtz, late to lunch after chores in the dairy barn, catches up with Chantel Hofer as she wipes down tables in the colony dining room. Hutterites have strict gender roles, with women tending to the cooking, cleaning and the garden, and men taking care of the farming and the businesses.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite girl walking through the snow at sunset at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Heidi Hofer marches through the snow towards the church as the sun sets in late February. In most colonies, tradition calls for the church to be at the centre of the community with the colony homes surrounding it.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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Irrigation equipment lies frozen in water in a Hutterite colony garden.

Irrigation equipment lies frozen in the garden flooded by spring water in late winter. 

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite buy using frogs as bait while fishing at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Andre Wurtz uses frogs as bait while fishing from the banks of the Assiniboine River on a warm June evening.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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Young Hutterite men sitting around a fire and fishing at a creek near their colony.

Young men from Deerboine Colony talk around the fire while fishing at a creek near their colony at dusk in spring.

Deerboine Colony - 2016

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A Hutterite man holds a gun with a river in the background.

Aaron Wurtz in a moment of reflection while clay shooting over the Assiniboine River.

Deerboine Colony - 2015
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Young Hutterite women playing guitar and singing at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Angela Hofer plays guitar and sings along with Dahlia Wurtz during a sing-along at a home on Deerboine Colony. In addition to traditional hymns sung in their low-german dialect, a few country songs and other tunes were also sung.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A young Hutterite woman watches television in a classroom at school.

Junia Wurtz watches the movie The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants on a television at the colony school. An english teacher from off the colony brought in the movie for her to watch because she really enjoyed the book.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite boy tries to catch a duck to be butchered.

Simeon Wurtz tries to corner a duck while helping with the slaughter. Children are taught to pull their weight on the colony at an early age.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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Jack Hofer sprints back to his truck to grab his knife after shooting a male bison to be butchered on the colony's bison range on a mild November day. 

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite man checks on his grain bins during harvest at a colony in Manitoba.

Aaron Wurtz checks to see how full a grain bin is while offloading a grain truck during harvest.

Deerboine Colony - 2009

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A young Hutterite woman smiling while wearing her traditional clothing.

Portrait of Michelle Wurtz, oldest child of Tim and Katherina Wurtz, and fourteen at the time.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A Hutterite woman wearing bright pink sneakers along with her homemade prairie dress.

Chantel Hofer wears bright pink DC brand sneakers with her homemade dress outside her family's home at Deerboine Colony. Although conformity is the ideal on Hutterite colonies, individuals, especially young women, look for subtle ways to express their individuality.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A Hutterite man poses for a portrait in the colony apiary.

Gideon Hofer amongst the beehives in the colony apiary.

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite man poses for a portrait in front of freshly butchered hog carcasses.

Colony Manager Mel Hofer after a day’s work butchering hogs, a cow and a bison is done. The animals are raised on the colony and the meat is used in a variety of meals.

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite woman sews a dress for baptism in her home at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Deborah Hofer sews her baptism dress in the sewing room of her family's home at Deerboine Colony. The Hutterites believe in adult baptism with each candidate choosing when they are ready. It as seen as the most important step in a Hutterite's life and signifies the candidate's acceptance to carry on the Hutterite faith and traditions.

Deerboine Colony - 2011

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A Hutterite Minister lectures two of his children in his living room prior to their baptism.

Deerboine Colony Minister Tom Hofer lectures his two youngest children, Tommy and Deborah, in their home prior to their baptism. The Hutterites believe in adult baptism with each candidate choosing when they are ready. It as seen as the most important step in a Hutterite's life.

 Deerboine Colony - 2011

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Portrait of Ryan Wurtz during baptism weekend. Ryan was one of five young adults from Deerboine Colony that chose to be baptized. Baptism affirms the candidates wish to uphold Hutterite traditions and values and greater responsibility is given to baptized members of the colony. They are expected to guide the next generation and be an example.

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite minister sits in a chair in the study of his home.

Minister Tom Hofer sits at his desk shortly before heading to the church to deliver a mass during baptism weekend in April.

Deerboine Colony - 2011

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Young Hutterite men and women socialize by arm wrestling at a table.

Tommy Hofer arm-wrestles a young woman from a neighbouring farm as some of Deerboine Colony's young people unwind after the yearly fall harvest sale. Events at colonies such as baptisms, weddings and helping with farm work allow young members to socialize and meet members of the opposite sex from outside their colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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Hutterite children say a prayer before lunch in the children's dining room.

Essenshul (Eating School) mother Katherina Wurtz leads children in a prayer before lunch. Children between the age of 5 and 15 eat separately from the adults in the Essenshul where they are taught to eat quickly and quietly and behave. At 15 they get to graduate to the adult dining area which is a celebrated right of passage for the children.

Deerboine Colony - 2012

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A Hutterite woman watches television as she donates blood at a clinic.

Angela Hofer donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services clinic in the Town Centre in Brandon, Manitoba. Although Hutterites can sometimes have a bad reputation among wary farmers and city-dwellers who are suspicious of their closed society, they are typically very eager to help their neighbours in mainstream society, donating blood in droves, sandbagging properties during floods, and donating food and other items to various charity drives.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite woman with braces and a flower in her hair smiles.

With a flower in her hair and braces on her teeth, Dahlia Wurtz smiles while working outside the greenhouse.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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Two Hutterite women sit in a pickup truck watching a nearby building burn down.

Chantel Hofer and Angela Hofer are bathed in the glow of the fire as they sit in the cab of a truck watching the colony wood shop burn to the ground. The fire started in the middle of the night and despite help from nearby rural fire departments, the wood shop could not be saved.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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Two Hutterite woman look over the burning remains of a building destroyed by fire.

Chantel Hofer takes a photo of the burning remains of the wood shop alongside her sister Kristiane. 

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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Young Hutterite women socialize on a hill overlooking a river valley in Manitoba.

Young women from Deerboine Colony socialize on a hill overlooking the Assiniboine River valley where their colony is situated as the light fades on a warm July evening.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A Hutterite couple kisses during an engagement party on a colony in Manitoba.

Family and friends laugh as bride and groom Deborah Hofer and Derek Maendel are pressured into a kiss during the farewell party for the bride at Deerboine Colony. In Hutterite society the bride always marries to the groom's colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A Hutterite woman weeps while saying goodbye to friends and family to move to a new home.

Deborah Hofer says a tearful goodbye to Edna Hofer before making the journey from Manitoba to North Dakota to marry into Forest River Colony. Leaving the only home they've ever known to move to a new colony can prove difficult or scary at first for many Hutterite women.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A Hutterite woman poses for a portrait in her wedding dress.

Chantel Hofer poses for a portrait in her wedding dress, two days before her wedding. Hofer, from Deerboine Colony, married to Fairway Colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite woman sings hymns for a family member with dementia in home.

Dorothy Hofer from Holmfield Colony sings hymn's for her sister-in-law Ruth, who has dementia, in Ruth's home.

Deerboine Colony - 2016

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A Hutterite man tucks his wife in to bed in their bedroom at a colony in Manitoba.

John Waldner tucks his wife Ruth into bed for an afternoon nap in late October. On the wall behind them is a composite photo of each of them before they were married.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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Two Hutterite girls rest against each other on a school bus.

Isabel Hofer and Kaitlyn Wurtz rest on a school bus while heading home after a school field trip to Winnipeg.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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Hutterite girls play on a set of swings at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Junia Wurtz watches as Terena Hofer swings high in the air on a swing set at Deerboine Colony on a July evening. Children spend a large portion of their days playing outside on the colony when they don't have school or chores.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A young Hutterite girl poses for a portrait with a cast on her broken arm.

Heidi Hofer broke her arm leaping off a swing on the colony. Friends signed her cast.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A young Hutterite girl stands in her home with a cast on her broken leg.

Alivia Wurtz broke her leg while sledding with friends when she crashed into a fence post.

Deerboine Colony

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A Hutterite girl tugs on her younger brothers suspenders while sitting at a kitchen table.

Michelle Wurtz tugs on the suspenders of her younger brother Simeon while having an after-school snack.

Deerboine Colony - 2010 

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A pie plate and leftover pie sit on a table in a Hutterite colony home.

Leftovers from afternoon lunch at Tom and Barbara Hofer's home.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Morning coffee at Tilly Wurtz's home. Sam Wurtz and Aurthur Wurtz both read the local newspaper while Chantel Hofer shows her mother Anne Marie something on her phone. Almost religiously, the Schmiedeleut Hutterites stop whatever they're doing for coffee twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Hutterite boy wipes something from his eye using his mothers dress.

Joel Wurtz wipes his eye on his mother Katherina's dress after getting something in it while joining his father and other Deerboine Colony men in the field for a field supper in late May.

 Deerboine Colony - 2013

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Hutterite boy kneels at the side of his bed saying evening prayers with his father,

Tyler Wurtz says evening prayers with his father Michael before bed.

Deerboine Colony - 2012

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Hutterite children play in a swimming hole on their colony in Manitoba.

Isabel and Simeon chicken-fight atop Bethany and Junia while playing in the colony swimming hole on a hot July evening. Wearing store-bought bathing suits and t-shirts they could be easily mistaken for everyday kids from mainstream society.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite boy leaps into the water at the colony swimming hole.

Cooling off on a hot day at the swimming hole. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A Hutterite woman lies in the water of a swimming hole in her blue homemade dress.

Kaitlyn Wurtz takes a break while swimming in Deerboine Colony's spring-fed swimming hole on a hot summer day. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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Hutterite children babysit younger relatives on a colony in Manitoba.

Saphira Hofer and Nicole Wurtz look after some of the younger children on the colony while their mothers work in August.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A Hutterite woman sits outside her home as laundry blows in the wind.

Head cook Tilly Wurtz sits on her front steps enjoying the sunshine as her laundry blows in the wind outside her home on the colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A Hutterite man and woman embrace while having engagement photos taken.

Angela Hofer of Deerboine Colony and Jacob Maendel of Treesbank Colony laugh while having engagement photos taken near Brandon, Manitoba. In Hutterite society the woman always marries to the man's colony. 

Deerboine Colony - 2011

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A Hutterite woman participates in a Canadian citizenship ceremony along with other new Canadians at the Manitoba Summer Fair.

Rachel Hofer of Deerboine Colony takes the oath of Canadian citizenship amongst 149 other new Canadian citizens gaining citizenship during a special ceremony at the Manitoba Summer Fair in Brandon, Manitoba. Hofer married to Deerboine Colony from a colony in South Dakota.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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A Hutterite woman wears colourful green sunglasses at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Chantel Hofer.

Deerboine Colony - 2015


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A Hutterite boy holds a squash while working in the garden at Deerboine Colony in Manitoba.

Tyler Wurtz in the colony garden during the pumpkin and squash harvest.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Hutterites eat watermelon together in the colony garden.

Stopping for a watermelon break in the garden on a warm August evening. 

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite girl rollerblades past the window of a home at Deerboine Hutterite Colony in Manitoba.

Rollerblading outside the Minister's home in early fall. 

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite child hides in the folds of her mothers dress as her mother rakes leaves.

Kira Wurtz hides in the folds of her mother Mary’s dress as Mary rakes in the yard.

Deerboine Colony - 2018

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A Hutterite woman organizes flowers at a grave in the colony cemetery.

Katherina Wurtz organizes flowers at a grave during fall cleaning in the colony cemetery.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Messages written on a white board at a Hutterite colony.

The white board in the kitchen on Valentine's day.

Deerboine Colony - 2011

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A Hutterite woman takes down sheets hung to dry on lines outside her home.

Dora takes down laundry from the line outsider her home.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Hutterite carpenter installs new roofing on a home at a colony in Manitoba.

Carpenters Jonathan Hofer and Arthur Wurtz install new aluminum sheets on a colony home on a sunny July day.

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite man looks into the camera for a portrait.

Jonathan Hofer runs the egg laying chicken operation at Deerboine Colony and serves as the german school teacher. The german school teacher is responsible for the children's spiritual education as well as the teachings of Hutterite history.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A Hutterite man stands covered in blood after butchering chicken at Deerboine Colony in Manitoba.

Ryan Wurtz immediately after butchering broiler chickens, a messy job that takes the majority of the able-bodied colony members working together like an assembly line.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A farmer pulls a calf from a cow while helping the cow give birth.

Ryan Wurtz works to pull a calf from its mother during an assisted birth in the middle of calving season.

Deerboine Colony

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A farmer holds a calf during calving season on the farm.

Ben Hofer holds a calf during calving season at the colony.

Deerboine Colony

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Hutterite gardener Lissa Wurtz stands in her greenhouse surrounded by colourful flowers.

Head gardener Lissa Wurtz in the colony greenhouse.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Portrait of a Hutterite woman outside her home.

Katherina Wurtz

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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A Hutterite couple sit together in the living room of their home.

Michael and Dora in their home.

Deerboine Colony - 2012

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A Hutterite woman picks corn in the garden in a colony in Manitoba.

Leane Wurtz picks corn in the colony garden.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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A Hutterite woman drives a tractor while another woman sits on a load of corn being moved by the tractor.

Kaitlyn, Terena and Junia move freshly picked corn from the garden to the kitchen.

Deerboine Colony - 2017

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Portrait of a Hutterite woman in the colony garden after planting vegetables in the rain.

Bethany Hofer in the colony garden after planting cucumbers in the rain. 

Deerboine Colony

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Photolife Magazine feature 

2016

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Photolife Magazine feature

2016

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Photolife Magazine feature

2016

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