Mennonite old colony life : under siege in Mexico
This research has grown out of an interest in exploring the history of the Old Colony Mennonite approach to living in the twentieth century. In the 1920s, Old Colony Mennonites moved from Canada to Mexico. There, they successfully established separate rural communities in an environment of relative freedom that was conducive to their being able to follow their religious beliefs and cultural practices. The colonies in Mexico later encountered serious problems, which have reached crisis proportions. Canada also has come to play an influential role in the recent history of the Mexican Old Colony group. Large numbers of Old Colony Mennonites have migrated to and from Canada, creating numerous problems for Canadian society and for the Mexican colonies. More "liberal" Canadian Mennonite churches also have gone to Mexico in an attempt to help and to reform their distant brethren there, bringing outside influences into the colonies. This study represents a fresh look at the history of the Old Colony group in Mexico and is an attempt to describe and identify key determinants of their history. Some important elements of that history were not adequately identified and emphasized in the past, which led to an incomplete and inaccurate picture of Old Colony history in Mexico. Information contained in this study was obtained by various methods. Old Colony communities in Mexico were observed, and personal interviews were conducted with Old Colony people and with those working with them in Mexico and Canada. Archival information from the National Archives of Canada, the Provincial Archives of Manitoba, and the Mennonite Heritage Centre was incorporated in the thesis. Mennonite Central Committee (Canada) files also have been used as a source. Periodicals, written in English, High German, Low German, and Spanish, have provided many details of Old Colony history, and the existing secondary body of scholarship has proven to be invaluable in providing a base of information for the research.
Master of Arts (M.A.)