Hutterians Want to Move: Dakota Colonists Opposed to World War (1918)

Government Will Enter No Objections to Their Disposal of Lands and Emigration to Canada When They Need Not Join Army

Washington, D.C., March 5.—Special: Objecting to their sons being impressed into the army through the selective service method, the Hutterian Brethren, some 2,000 persons, intend to sell their land in South Dakota and move to Canada.

Representatives of the sixteen colonies were in conference today with state department officials and were informed the government will hold nothing in the way of their departure.

Although Canada has a draft law, the Hutterians have been assured they will not be molested if they move to that country, they told Senator Thomas Sterling, of South Dakota.

The visit here at this time, it was explained, was to learn the attitude of the government. If favorable, agents can be sent into Canada to select a desirable location and purchase land.

The South Dakota colonies were founded a few years after the war. There are two other colonies in Montana. A colony was established in Canada a number of years ago, but the members returned.

German is the language spoken by the Hutterians, although they came to this country from Russia. They were promised freedom from military service in Russia. But this was broken and they emigrated again.

Because of their refusal to adopt American ways or have anything to do with governmental affairs, the Hutterians are disliked by their neighbors, it is said. They entered strong protests last summer when some of their young men were called in the draft. Noncombatant tasks were assigned to the Hutterians, but still the leaders were dissatisfied. Their creed is opposed to any kind of service related to war.

The Sioux City Journal (Iowa), March 6, 1918, page 4.

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