News and Reviews
James Stahl, the young tour guide, tells a reporter from the nearby town newspaper that while lots of things are now done differently in the colonies, basic Hutterite values have not changed. Giving a tour last week for the Mountain View Gazette, a weekly paper in Olds, Alberta, Stahl described the way his group is developing the facilities and industries for a new colony, which will be located a few miles away.
The existing colony, Valley View, was founded in 1971 near the rural hamlet of Torrington, AB, about 55 miles north of Calgary, 33 miles south of Red Deer, 20 miles east of Olds, and 45 miles northwest of Drumheller. It is preparing to split off a daughter facility to be called the May City Colony. The new colony will be about halfway between Olds and Torrington. A few buildings have been erected for the new facility, and a handful of men are already handling some plant operations on the site, which Mr. Stahl shows the reporter.
According to the paper, the Mountain View County Municipal Planning Commission on April 3rd received an application for a permit to build the new May City Colony. It will include, in addition to housing and living facilities, a chicken broiler barn, a chicken layer barn, a duck and geese barn, and a manure storage facility. The new colony plans to raise 250 geese and 750 ducks.
A metal fabricating plant on the 3,000 acre property has been in operation for seven years, staffed by a small group of workers from Valley View, including Mr. Stahl. Called the May City Roll Forming company, it is managed by the Hutterites from Valley View, but is actually owned by VersaFrame, Inc., a Canadian company. (The reporter refers to the parent colony repeatedly as “Valleyview”, but Janzen and Stanton list it in their recent book as “Valley View.”)
The rolling plant produces metal products for roofs, sidewalks, oilfield containment structures, and agricultural facilities. Three colony members work in the office and two on the shop floor. They ship their products to customers in Alberta and British Columbia. The company business grew 10 percent last year, and anticipates growing 20 percent more this year. VersaFrame owns most of the equipment, while the colony owns the building and one of the production lines.
The reporter’s hosts talk about the anticipated formation of the new colony. The population at Valley View has grown to about 120 people, so it is planning its next split. Leonard Stahl, a 26-year old who works on the shop floor, spoke eagerly about the prospect. “Once this place is ready for people to move up here then we’re going to do it,” he said.
His cousin, 19-year old Curtis Stahl, who works with him on the shop floor, also expressed his enthusiasm. “It’s a new experience,” he says. “I’m gonna learn a lot I guess.”
James Stahl, the tour guide, indicates they will have to build the chicken barn, then the houses. Once they split the group at the old colony and half the people actually move, the new colony members will elect their spiritual leader. They will also have to build more barns so there will be plenty of work to do for the people who move, he says.
He reflects on the anticipated move, and the way things change but stay the same. “It’s kinda changing with time but you’re really sticking to your principles,” he says, “your unchanging principles.”
While Bloomberg BusinessWeek last week trumpeted the recent Mexican economic powerhouse, some poor, marginalized communities in that country, such as those of the Zapotec, appear to be increasingly repressed.
The Independent European Daily Express, a news organization based in the Netherlands, carried an IPS story on its website last week announcing that a community radio station in Oaxaca had been shut down by the government. The move by the authorities follows, and seems to be related to, very contentious community reactions to a disputed wind farm, which provoked a lot of opposition and controversy last year.
Radio Totopo, broadcasting from the Pescadores neighborhood of Juchitán, a small, primarily Zapotec city in Oaxaca, had been on the air since 2006. About 90 percent of its programming was in the language spoken by the local Zapotec people. Pescadores is in the oldest and poorest part of the city. Like most community radio stations in Mexico, the station had no operating license, so the authorities seized all the equipment and shut it down at the end of March.
The station had supported the causes of the local poor people, the farmers and fisherfolk, particularly in their fight to prevent the installation of an industrial wind farm on communal lands. Radio Totopo translated contracts into the local Zapotec language, called Diidxazá, and broadcasted them. It publicized issues raised by opponents to the industrial development until March 26 when the state police arrived to remove equipment, the transmitter, a computer, and evict the station from the site.
During the confrontation with the authorities, Carlos Sánchez, one of the coordinators of the station, suffered a broken arm. He is now in hiding. Mariano López Gómez, a leading opponent of the wind farm, was detained for several days.
All of this has been going on, oddly, while the Mexican parliament has been debating a constitutional reform that will guarantee the rights of community and indigenous radio stations. The success of the new law is uncertain, but some voices in Oaxaca cynically disparage the process.
Óscar Ledima Santiago, a coordinator of the repressed Radio Totopo, said that the proposed law “is useless to us.” He added that the “debate is a lie, because the radio stations are being subjected to repression for defending people's rights, and by the time the secondary regulations are passed, there won't be any land left to fight for.”
Other community radio stations have also been harassed for supporting the efforts of local people to control their own lands and resources. Two reporters from the Radio Voces de los Pueblos were held for a couple hours on March 21, and a couple days later, Filiberto Vicente from Radio Xadani said that he had received death threats. Radio Huave, another community station, has had its transmitting equipment stolen.
In all of those instances, the stations had become involved in supporting the resistance of indigenous people to large mining or energy development projects. A group called the Assembly of Peoples of the Isthmus in Defence of Land and Territory said, in a communiqué, “we demand a thorough investigation of these attacks, and punishment of the officials and company owners linked to the violation of our right to information.”
The enthusiastic Bloomberg BusinessWeek story about the vibrant Mexican economy does admit that the country still has many problems, such as weakness in its public institutions, rampant corruption, and an underdeveloped rule of law. Trampling on the rights of indigenous peoples, especially when they get in the way of profitable energy developments, could be included on the list.
News and reviews of publications relating to peaceful societies—and sometimes to related topics—are normally posted here on Thursday mornings (U.S. time) and are kept on this page for one week. Older news and reviews for are listed below, and ones from previous years are listed on the News and Reviews 2004-2005 page, the 2006 page, the 2007 page, the 2008 page, the 2009 page, the 2010 page, the 2011 page, and the 2012 page. All stories are also included in the News and Reviews Subject Listing. Recent ones are listed at the bottom of each society entry in the Encyclopedia of Selected Peaceful Societies, after the heading: Updates: News and Reviews. News and reviews about peacefulness in general are referred to from the bottom of the Facts page, while news stories about this website are linked from the About This Website page. News and Reviews can also be found with the Google search bar.
May 9, 2013. Mbuti Cherish the Forest—Does Anyone Care?
May 9, 2012. Buid Retain their Peaceful Society [anthology chapter review]
May 2, 2013. Nubians Have Conflicts
May 2, 2013. Indian Government Ignores Educated Birhor Boys
April 25, 2013. Back River Heritage Status Questioned
April 25, 2013. Sam Mullet Headed a Cult, not an Amish Congregation
April 18, 2013. G/wi File Another Court Suit
April 18, 2013. Yanadi Fish Farming May Be Threatened
April 11, 2013. Montana Hutterites Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court
April 11, 2013. Protecting the Piaroa Environment
April 4, 2013. Film Festival in Ladakh Promotes Women’s Equality
April 4, 2013. Amish Reality Versus TV Shows
March 30, 2013. News and Reviews Feature Will Resume
March 14, 2013. Nubian Delegates Meet President Morsi
March 14, 2013. Violence Threatens the Lepchas
March 7, 2013 . Equality for Fipa Women
March 7, 2013. Yanadi Families in Andhra Pradesh Gain and Lose Welfare
February 28, 2013. Tristan Couple on Isle of Man
February 28, 2013. Amish Protect the Land
February 21, 2013. Scientists Collaborate with the Inuit
February 21, 2013. Semai Beliefs about Snakes
February 14, 2013. Zapotec Communities Confront Mining
February 14, 2013. Conflict in the Hills of West Bengal
February 7, 2013. Court Settlement of Herero Invasion
February 7, 2013. Photos of the Batek
January 31, 2013. Flowering Plants, Tamil Poetry, and the Paliyans
January 31, 2013. Semai Participation in the Digital Age [journal article review]
January 24, 2013. Botswana Hassles the G/wi—and Offers Job Training
January 24, 2013. Fracking Among the Amish [magazine article review]
January 17, 2013. Egyptian Government Grants Land to Nubians
January 17, 2013. Old Year’s Night on Tristan
January 10, 2013. Hutterites Lose Court Challenge
January 10, 2013. Too Much Chang in Ladakh?
January 3, 2013. Ohio Amish Birding
January 3, 2013 . Inuit Cooperate with the Saami [journal article review]