For approximately forty years, the three communal Hutterite groups continued to live for the most part in the James River Valley of what is now easternSouth Dakota. They increased from their three initial colonies to seventeen by 1918 (Esau 4-10). By 1918, а number of factors were creating extreme tension between the Hutterites and their neighbors (In the Court of Appeal of Alberta 6-14).
Two of the principal problems were directly related to the American involvement in World War I. Being strict pacifists, the Hutterites not only refused to bear arms but also refused any form of alternative service. They had continued to speak their German dialect in everyday speech and used High German which they taught in their schools in their religious services. Because of their refusal to support the war effort, young Hutterite men most of whom were married with families were forced into prison and treated with extreme brutality (Hutterian Church Excommunicates 1-4). These and other factors led the three Leut to relocate their colonies inCanada. Eventually, fifteen of the sixteen colonies inSouth Dakotaand one inMontanarelocated toCanada, leaving only the original Schmiedeleut colony, Bon Homme, inSouth Dakotaand the Dariusleut Spring Creek colony inMontana.
Their move toCanadawas well planned. All six of the new Schmiedeleut colonies settled in а close cluster surrounding the small community of Elie in theAssiniboineRiverValleywest ofWinnipeg,Manitoba. Ten Dariusleut and Lehrerleut colonies moved to the southwestern and central parts of theprovinceofAlberta. The geographical separation of the two western Leut inAlbertafrom the Schmiedeleut colonies has continued unbroken for the past eighty years (Hutterites 1). In the 1930s, а number of Schmiedeleut colonies were reestablished inSouth Dakotafrom Canadian parent colonies, many on land abandoned in 1918 that was still in the possession of the Hutterites (Friedmann 1-3).
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