A reporter from the CTV television network visited some Hutterites outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, recently and observed how devoted they are to their culture, families, and language. Julie Clark, the reporter, toured the Sunny Dale Colony, located in the Canadian prairie 40 miles west northwest of the city, to gain some perspectives on Hutterite society.
Johnny B. Wurz, the Colony Manager, emphasized to Ms. Clark that one of the values at his colony is their tradition of separating men and women. Both have many different tasks to do but they work separately. Men and women eat meals separately and attend church separately at Sunny Dale. “The women never step in to where the men are, and the men never enter into where the women are,” Mr. Wurz said.
He maintained that they are proud of their self-sufficiency, their diversity, and the fact that they stick to their beliefs. “That’s what drives us every day, is our religion and our work,” he told the reporter. He indicated that there are roughly 50 different possible job assignments at the colony, from working in the wood shop to helping in the canola crusher plant. Each operation has its own manager.
The Hutterite children attend both a German and an English school at the colony and they complete their schooling when they finish eighth grade. The reporter spoke with Benjamin Wurz, a grade 4 student, who told her that they have school every morning but in the afternoons they get to play as well as work on their art projects.
At about age 18, young Hutterites begin visiting other colonies and start dating. After they are married, the men will grow beards. Televisions are not allowed in their apartments but adults may have cell phones and computers so they can make sure their business operations remain competitive. They wear modest dress that hasn’t changed in style for many years.
Mr. Wurz addressed the criticism by some Canadians that the Hutterites tend to buy up too much land for their ever-expanding colonies. The Sunny Dale colony itself now has over 100 residents. It was founded in 1987 as a branch of the Hillsvale Colony, which is located almost 80 miles farther northwest near Cut Knife, Saskatchewan.
Mr. Wurz said that, in response to the critics, the Hutterites at Sunny Dale do make good use of the land they buy. He calculated that, with 35 families at the colony and 25,000 acres, it amounts to less than 1,000 acres per family. He implied that less land than that would represent a modest amount of acreage for ranching families in the Saskatoon area. However, he emphasized for the Saskatchewan television audience that the Hutterites place a very high value on having good relations with nearby towns.