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Today, most Hutterites live in Western Canada and the upper Great Plains of the United States.

Originating in the Austrian province of Tyrol in the 16th century, the forerunners of the Hutterites migrated to Moravia to escape persecution.

A basic tenet of Hutterian society has always been absolute pacifism (nonresistance), forbidding its members from taking part in military activities, taking orders, wearing a formal uniform (such as a soldier's or a police officer's) or contributing to war taxes.

Ultimately, two of the four men, the brothers Joseph and Michael Hofer, died at Leavenworth Military Prison from mistreatment, after the Armistice had been signed ending the war.The Hutterite community responded by abandoning Dakota and moving 17 of the 18 existing American colonies to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.The founder of the Hutterite tradition, Jakob Hutter, "established the Hutterite colonies on the basis of the Schleitheim Confession, a classic Anabaptist statement of faith".Hutterite communes, called "colonies", are all rural; many depend largely on farming or ranching, depending on their locale for their income.This act resulted in the establishment of a number of new colonies in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and at the same time there was expansion into Montana and eastern Washington in the 1940s and 1950s.

Today, approximately three of every four Hutterite colonies are in Canada (mostly in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan), with almost all of the remainder in the United States (primarily South Dakota and Montana).

At this time the number of Hutterites had fallen to around 100.

In Ukraine, the Hutterites enjoyed relative prosperity, although their distinctive form of communal life was influenced by neighboring Russian Mennonites.

Although most Hutterites live in the Midwestern United States and in Western Canada, Hutterite colonies have been established in Australia, Nigeria and Japan.

The Hutterites, or the Hutterite Church, are a group of Anabaptist Christians.

Several state laws were enacted seeking to deny Hutterites religious legal status to their communal farms (colonies).