Yodas Celebrate 300 Years in America

SHIPSHEWANA, IN

Days after the Yoder family celebrated the anniversary of their arrival in the New World, Yodas across America gathered in Shipshewana to commemorate their own family heritage.

“Descended from Mr. Hans Yoda, we are,” said Mr. Johan Yoda of Goshen, now well into his 80s. “Three centuries ago came he to America from Dagaboh, Switzerland. Swampy territory it was. Pennsylvania much better was.”

The Yoda family began with just one green little man, and have risen to become one of the largest and most prominent families in the American Mennonite community, though some have criticized the Yodas for dabbling in syncretism.

“Unlike the Yoders, who are firmly Anabaptist, the Yodas have incorporated aspects of the Jedi religion into their Mennonite tradition,” explained EMU professor Jakob Miller. “The Yodas usually wait until they’ve turned 600 years old to be baptized. Plus, most of them aren’t pacifists.”

The Yodas frequent use of the Jedi weaponry was the cause of considerable tension during the 20th century, and eventually caused the Yodas to split from the Mennonite church in 1943.

“The force we have used since our days in Holmes County,” said Johan Yoda. “Sometimes light-sabre is more powerful than shunning, it is.”

The Yodas and Yoders arrived in America on the same boat in 1717. The difference in spelling has been attributed to an error in paperwork by immigration officials at the port of entry.

(photo credit: Jan S0L0/CC)