Village Among Nations Book Cover

Village Among Nations

‘Canadian’ Mennonites in a Transnational World, 1916-2006. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013

Royden K. Loewen

Between the 1920s and the 1940s, 10,000 traditionalist Mennonites (mostly Old Colonists) emigrated from western Canada to settle in isolated rural sections of northern Mexico and the Paraguayan Chaco. Over the course of the twentieth century, they became increasingly scattered through secondary migrations various regions of Latin America, and especially in Bolivia. Thousands of others ‘returned’ northward, to Canada and the United States.

Yet, despite this dispersion, these Canadian-descendant Mennonites, who today number around 250,000, developed a rich transnational culture, resisting allegiance to any one nation and cultivating a strong sense of common peoplehood based on a history of migration, nonviolence, and distinct language and dress.

Village Among Nations adds a missing chapter of Canadian history: the story of these Mennonites who emigrated from Canada for cultural reasons, but then in later generations 'returned' in large numbers for economic and social security.

Royden Loewen analyzes a wide variety of texts – letters, memoirs, sermons, field research and oral history interviews. Here are the voices of migrants who nurture kinship ties, debate land settlement, interact with curious outsiders, ponder religious meaning, and deliberate on issues of citizenship. They relate the hidden experiences of this uniquely transnational ethno-religious community.