A young Hutterite girl holds an American Girl style doll wearing a dress matching hers.

Katiana Waldner and her American Girl style doll wear matching dresses sewn by her mother Cheryl. The dolls are popular amongst young girls on some colonies and family members often sew traditional Hutterite clothing for the dolls so the girls can see representations of themselves and their lives in the dolls. 

Maple Grove Colony - 2016

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In the world, but not of it.

2009 - Present


The Hutterites, an Anabaptist group whose roots trace back to the 16th century Reformation in Europe, live communally on colonies throughout western Canada and the north-western United States. Their culture continues to be preserved through deliberate separation from mainstream society and economic self-sufficiency. They strive to be 'in the world, but not of it.' This communal life, built on sharing goods as well as experiences and working towards the collective well being of the colony, keeps the Hutterites tethered to each other emotionally and physically. The Hutterites have created the most successful version of communal living in modern history. 


There are an estimated 45,000 Hutterites living on colonies throughout Western Canada and the north-western United States. The past few decades have been a relative period of prosperity for the religious group, who spent much of their 500 year history fleeing persecution. But just as the continuous advances in technology have ushered in a variety of changes to our lives in mainstream North America, so have these changes had their influence on Hutterite society as well. Unlike their spiritual cousins the Amish, Hutterites have traditionally embraced technology that improves productivity on their colonies. But technology used for their businesses easily seeps into everyday life. Each colony deals with new technology differently. Colonies are increasingly having to adapt to the outside world to stay sustainable or grow and are struggling with embracing change while holding on to their religious beliefs and insular ideals. 


Many stereotypes about the Hutterites persist. They sway between the at-best whimsical idea that these are simple, plain, or backwards prairie folk to at worst, the idea that they are a patriarchal cult that buy up as much land as they can, have unfair business advantages and have no connections to the outside world. Obviously neither the romantic notion nor the ill-informed prejudiced view tells the proper story of who the Hutterite's are and how their society is changing.

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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A Hutterite woman takes her horse for a swim in a pond at Baker Hutterite Colony in Manitoba

Hadassah Maendel takes Kahlua for a swim in the colony swimming hole at sunset on an August evening.

Baker Colony - 2016

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Two Hutterite women ride in the back of a pickup truck on a colony in Manitoba.

Kristiane Hofer sends a text while riding in the back of a pickup truck with Angela Hofer. Texting is extremely popular on colonies where cellphones have been accepted to make farming and business more productive. Individual colonies make their own decisions about how much technology to allow in but their leaders are all aware and interested in how their fellow colonies are handling the issue.

Deerboine Colony - 2009

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Hutterite women make quilts at Airport Colony in Manitoba.

Women cut fabric to be used to make quilts during a quilting bee for the Mennonite Central Committee as part of the relief effort for Haiti after a powerful earthquake devastated parts of the country. Many colonies are quick to lend a hand to their neighbours and strangers when they can. 

Airport Colony - 2010

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Two Hutterite students work on a school project at a computer at Odanah Colony in Manitoba.

Lenci Waldner and Trina Waldner work together on a school project using a laptop and the internet at Odanah Colony. It is easy for outsiders to generalize Hutterites but colonies are very diverse. Some colonies, especially amongst the Group 1 Schmiedeleuts have really embraced the use of digital technologies in the classroom and have sent their own members through post-secondary education so that they can teach on the colony. Other colonies have been much more wary of allowing in internet use. Each colony decides for itself what to allow but is keenly aware of what fellow colonies are doing. Odanah Colony - 2014

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A Hutterite woman looks at an exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.

Chantel Hofer studies an exhibit about the Holocaust at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba during a field trip for the colony school.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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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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Two Hutterite men work to butcher chickens at their farm in Manitoba.

Justin and Kevin work in the killing plant butchering chickens. The job requires the majority of able-bodied members on the colony pitching in.

Deerbone 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 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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Two Hutterite men make a coffin in a carpentry shop on a colony in Manitoba.

Coffin making for an elder member of the colony. The coffins are made and the graves are dug by hand.

Deerboine Colony - 2014
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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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A Hutterite man is seen through a window sitting in his living room waiting for the call to church at sunset.

Edwin Hofer sits in the living room of his home waiting for the call to church as dusk descends over the colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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​Light streams in through the blinds in a church at Lajord Colony in Saskatchewan.

Light streams in through the blinds in the church at Lajord Colony in Saskatchewan.

Lajord Colony (Dariusleut) - 2017
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A young Hutterite woman poses for a portrait while collecting maple sap on a colony in Manitoba.

Portrait of Michelle Wurtz while collecting maple sap. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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Two Hutterite girls pose for a photo wearing long hand-sewn dresses and downhill skis during a  day of downhill skiing.

Portrait of Trina and Telsa Waldner during a day of downhill skiing at Ski Valley in Minnedosa along with students from Spring Hill Colony. 

Odanah Colony - 2016

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A young Hutterite woman leaps over the high jump bar in her prairie dress during a track and field competition at a colony.

Clara Wollmann of Good Hope Hutterite Colony sails over the high jump bar during the annual Track and Field competition at the colony.

Good Hope Colony - 2017

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

Gideon Hofer amongst the beehives in the colony apiary.

Deerboine Colony

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A Hutterite woman rakes straw in the garden at a colony in Manitoba.

Isabel Hofer rakes straw off of the strawberry patch in early spring. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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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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An elderly Hutterite couple say grace together after a meal in their home.

John and Ruth Waldner give thanks after he helped her with her lunch at their kitchen table. Ruth has dementia and John spends most of his day caring for her.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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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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Flowers lie on top of a grave in a cemetery at a Hutterite colony in Manitoba.
Flowers were placed on top of Annie Basel's grave and hymns were sung after she was laid to rest in Deerboine Colony's cemetery following the wake and funeral. As is tradition the grave is dug by hand.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A Hutterite woman stands in front of her home at Deerboine Colony in Manitoba.

Tilly Wurtz in front of her home. 

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A Hutterite woman takes a practical test for a nursing course at a local university.
Phoebe Wurtz of Oak River Colony completes simulation testing for one of the courses in her Health Studies program at Brandon University. Phoebe and three other Hutterite women from the group one side of the Schmiedeleut sect were the first Hutterite women to go to university off the colony to study nursing.
Oak River Colony - 2011
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Hutterite elder Jacob Kleinsasser sits in the living room of his home at Crystal Spring Colony.

Jacob Kleinsasser, elder of the group one Schmeideleut sect of the Hutterites, photographed at his home. 

Crystal Springs Colony - 2013

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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 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 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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Hutterite men shoot guns over the Assiniboine river in Manitoba at sunset.

Clay shooting over the Assiniboine River at sunset on a warm summer evening. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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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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A Hutterite man washes his truck in the morning beside a yellow combine.

Michael washes one of the colony trucks in the morning light as a combine sits parked in the background. All goods such as vehicles are shared on the colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2009

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Hutterite men and women socialize during a farewell party for a woman moving to a new colony.

Colony members pile into Mike and Grace's living room during the farewell party for Deborah the night before she leaves to marry into Forest River Colony.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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Geese parade around a pen at a farm on a Hutterite colony in Manitoba.

Geese at Pine Creek Colony.

Pine Creek 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 girl with a broken arm cradles her green cast in her other 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 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 man checks the load in a grain truck on a colony in Saskatchewan.

Hillcrest Hutterite Colony Second Minister Mike Wollman checks on a load in a grain truck during seeding at the colony south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Hillcrest Colony (Dariusleut) - 2017
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Hutterite men eat corn while harvesting a crop in a field in Manitoba.

Mel Hofer and Arthur Wurtz eat corn on the cob from the back of a pickup truck as part of supper in the field while combining wheat in a valley east of Deerboine Hutterite Colony. When harvest is in full swing you don't break for supper at the colony, for church or for much of anything else. Priority number one is getting the crops off the field. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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A Hutterite woman spins her niece in a field during harvest in Manitoba.

Chantel spins her two-year-old niece Anabelle in a field of wheat as the combines sit idle while the men eat a quick supper in the field during harvest.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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Hutterite men watch a building burn down during a fire on a colony.

Young men watch the colony wood shop burn from the warmth of a nearby building in late November. 

Deerboine Colony - 2010

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A Hutterite man chases a cow through the snow on a colony in Manitoba.

Josh Wurtz chases a cow through the snow on the colony after the cow escaped from the dairy operation.

Deerboine Colony - 2017
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A Hutterite man works in a metal fabrication shop in Manitoba.
Johannes Waldner in the metal fabrication shop.

Maple Grove Colony - 2017

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Two Hutterite women knit in the living room of a home at a colony in Manitoba.

Ruth Waldner and Katherina Wurtz pull apart the yarn from old sweaters and ball it to use for future projects. Ruth has dementia and pulling apart yarn gives her comfort and purpose.

Deerboine Colony - 2013

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A sewing machine sits in a home at a Hutterite colony.

Mary Wurtz's sewing station. The women sew their own dresses and clothes for their children and husbands as well as other items for use in the home.

Deerboine Colony - 2015

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The dining room of a Hutterite colony in Saskatchewan.
The tables are set for lunch in the communal dining room. Men sit together on one side of the dining room and women sit together on the other side.

Lajord Colony (Dariusleut) - 2017

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Two Hutterite twin sisters wearing matching outfits pose for a photo in an orchard on the colony.

Twin sisters Kayla and Kelly Waldner. 

Baker Colony - 2016

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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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Hutterite women wash walls in a colony building.

Michelle Wurtz and Isabel Hofer scrub down walls in the killing plant. 

Deerboine Colony - 2015.

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Hutterite women stretch prior to playing hockey.

Members of the Baker Hutterite Colony women's hockey team get ready for their annual charity hockey game against the town team the Iron Maidens in the nearby town of MacGregor, Manitoba. 2016. The team is made up of women from a few different colony's.

Baker Colony - 2016
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A Hutterite woman works out in a colony gym.

Hadassah Maendel climbs a rope while doing CrossFit in the colony gym. Baker Colony - 2017. Interest in physical fitness has grown on some colonies as technology and affluence push members into less physically demanding lifestyles.

Baker Colony - 2017

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