Hutterites of South Dakota: The Schmiedleleut
By Joanita Kant
Llumnina Press, Coral Gables, Florida, 2006, 254 pages, softcover
This is the best book I have read dealing with any ethnic group
in this case the Hutterites of South Dakota. As a native-born South
Dakotan, deeply involved for many years in the educational, cultural,
and political life of the state, I supposed that I knew well the
Hutterite community. But Joanita Kant, by means of brilliant photography,
careful research, and excellent historical writing, opens our eyes
and warms our spirits with a fascinating up-to-date tour of the
religious, economic, cultural, and societal treasure of the unique
Hutterite way of life.... If a reader is looking for a dramatic,
carefully written, beautifully illustrated story of one of the most
fascinating ethnic groups in American history, this is the book
to read. We will not soon see its equal.
--- Former United States Senator George McGovern, South Dakota
Hutterites of South Dakota is an unprecedented pictorial review
of their lifestyle in 44 of 53 colonies in the state during all
four seasons of 2004. Three branches of Hutterites came to southeastern
Dakota Territory (today South Dakota) in the 1870s from Ukraine,
Russia. As always, since their founding in central Europe in 1528,
they were escaping religious persecution. Although there are three
divisions of ethnic Hutterites, namely Schmiedeleut, Dariusleut,
and Lehrerleut, only Schmiedeleut remain in South Dakota, which
has more Hutterites than any state in the USA.
In the Foreword, the author writes: "South Dakota is particularly
important to the more than 45,000 Hutterites in North America because
it was where their ancestors established three founding mother colonies,
one for each leut, upon arrive in North America. All ethnic Hutterites
descend from those founding colonies." To obtain photos and
information for this book, I visited 45 of the 53 Schmiedeleut Hutterite
colonies in South Dakota throughout 2004."
Jacob Waldner with Jeanette Waldner, Geneva Hofer, and Jolene
Waldner-- new kitchen-church building in background.
About the author
An honors graduate of the University of South Dakota, Joanita Kant
has been a museum director, historical preservationist, author,
and humanities speaker in the state. She currently resides in Watertown.
Hutterites of South Dakota
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