Small Amish Community in Manitoba   Leave a comment


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Road sign near Gladstone, Manitoba

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In 2006 eleven families of Amish from Ontario moved to southern Manitoba.  High farmland costs back in Ontario led these adventurous people to move out west.  It is hard to gauge the population of Amish in Manitoba, suffice it to say there would be approximately 150-200 individuals based on average family size.  Other families have joined the original eleven. They live near the small towns of Gladstone and Plumas in south-central Manitoba.

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The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to, but distinct from, Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.

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A team of 4 horses pulling a seeding machine

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Over 250,000 Amish live in the United States, mainly in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Over 40,000 live in southern Ontario, with a very small group in Manitoba.

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Lots of horses in and near the farmyards

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Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of Hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and the high value they place on Demut (humility) and Gelassenheit (calmness, composure, placidity), often translated as “submission” or “letting-be”. Gelassenheit is perhaps better understood as a reluctance to be forward, to be self-promoting, or to assert oneself. The Amish’s willingness to submit to the “Will of Jesus”, expressed through group norms, is at odds with the individualism so central to the wider American culture. The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on community. Modern innovations like electricity might spark a competition for status goods, or photographs might cultivate personal vanity.

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Seeing the Amish farms is like going back in time to the late 1800’s. Except for the rubber tires.

Amish subgroups, known as affiliations, differ in the use of modern technologies. Television, radio and the internet are not used by the vast majority.  Some affiliations do allow certain modern technologies. Modern amenities and devices such as flush toilets, chainsaws, pneumatic tools, mechanical refrigerators, running water, propane gas and lawn mowers are used.

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Posted May 1, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture, Manitoba

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