Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2006


Published in Great Plains Research 16:1 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


The Courts and the Colonies is an informative discussion of the impact of legal issues on communal Hutterites during the past half-century. It is a valuable addition to Hutterite studies specifically, providing significant social analysis alongside a detailed discussion of legal matters. More generally the book has important things to say about the legal status of all communal religious societies in North America and the unanticipated problems that can emerge when these groups call upon the power of the state to support internal policies and procedures. The book is especially relevant to studies of the Great Plains, since there are more than 50 constantly-expanding Hutterite colonies in the state of South Dakota alone, with dozens more in North Dakota and Montana.