The Amish: Shunned – Bonus Video with Katie Troyer

My friend Katie Troyer was featured in a pair of bonus videos for the recent PBS film The Amish: Shunned.  You may already know Katie from her excellent photos and blog focusing on life in the Pinecraft community in Florida.

On the PBS website, The Amish: Shunned creator Callie Wiser comments on the people whom she met “whose stories I did not get to tell”.  Callie writes:

One of these people, a woman named Katie Troyer, I couldn’t not film. She is such a warm and wise soul, I could not resist sitting her down to tell her story. I was sad when I couldn’t knit her story in with the other characters in The Amish: Shunned, and I asked her if she would mind if I edited a web feature about her.

Katie is a little person, she stands three feet four inches tall. She brings a unique perspective (literally and figuratively) to life as an Amish person and now as former Amish. Because of her stature, Katie’s community may never have been able to see her as able to fill the typical role of the Amish woman as a mother. This meant that she never fully fit in with her Amish community, but it also meant that she was more free to take on roles that an Amish mother would not be allowed, for example when she worked for a book publisher in an Amish community in Ontario.

Here’s Katie discussing Pinecraft, photos, and more:

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    1. Rich Stevick

      A lovely portrait of a lovely person

      This is the first winter in many that we haven’t been to Pinecraft, and Katie is one of the reasons that we love being there. She is a very big part of our Pinecraft experience, and Callie W has captured her big heart and her gift to all who know her. We are missing you, Katie. Aus liebe. Rich and Polly

    2. Margaret

      Excellent…excellent. Thanks for posting this, Erik.

      1. elaine avaritt

        enjoyed this so much

    3. Marie Dawson

      Katie is Happy

      What a lovely lady Katie is. Glad that she is happy where she lives.

    4. Laura

      As the mother of a little person, I’ve been fascinated with the high number of little persons occurring in the Amish population. Once when my daughter and I went to eat at the restaurant at the Annapolis, MD Amish market, where the hostess is little, she and my daughter immediately got into a long conversation about what it’s like being small in a tall world, and it was fascinating to see the cultural differences just evaporate in their shared experience.

      It’s also lovely to see how Katie has everything in her life sized appropriately for her. That’s often a challenge for little adults, so having things built to fit their size is especially important.

      If I’m ever in Pinecraft, I’d love to meet Katie. Her photographs are lovely!

      1. According to a statistic that my cousin just shared with me, Amish children are 5 to 10 times more likely to be born with a genetic condition. NE IN now has their own geneticist and special clinic for that kind of thing:
        I was visiting with a friend several years ago and mentioned something about a cousin who is mentally handicapped. Apparently, I’d mentioned something earlier about someone else in the family who has Downs Syndrome because my friend turned to me and said, in all seriousness Just how many mentally handicapped/challenged people are in your family? (The whole conversation sounds a bit bizarre and laughable now.) So I sifted through my many cousins and my parents’ cousins (whom I know- most, I don’t know)- and came up with a number. And she was stunned. Well how many in your family? I asked. None, she replied. And I was stunned. I really did used to think it was just part of everyone’s life.

        1. And just to make it clear- the genetic conditions in my family all happen to be Downs Syndrome or PKU-related (which, if not detected early, causes mental retardation). I’m quite clear that there are many genetic conditions that have nothing to do with mental faculties!

          1. Sandra Kathleen

            @Ann B: PKU is a congenital defect where the enzyme for breaking down the amino acid phenylalamine is not present. Mental retardation results only in those cases where a special diet is not followed throughout the afflicted person’s total life. It is a tough, and very expensive way to eat…but, mental retardation is not “automatic.” PKU is one of the tests given to every newborn so the disorder can be accommodated as early as possible.

            1. Yes, I realize that mental retardation is not automatic. My cousins who are affected were born before babies were screened for that defect and they were fed milk before anyone knew they shouldn’t have it. There are quite a few in my family on the special diet! In fact, I’d say we’re quite well versed in the whole thing! I guess I should have worded that a bit differently. Believe me, we know about the PKU thing! 🙂

    5. Gary Counterman


      Thank you for sharing Callie Wiser’s very touching documentary footage of Katie Troyer. Katie appears a remarkable and very lovely person, I’m so glad that she found a community and place like Pinecraft which as she says is a real home to her. It lifted my heart to see good things happen for such a thoughtful and nice person.

    6. Bernadette W.

      Re; This Amish & Pinecraft community

      To all who reads my comment! This is the most interesting story that I have every read. Plus the pictures are very beautiful of all these wonderful Amish people who let Katie take your pictures. It’s nice to have memories of the past to look at! May God continue to Bless this Amish community and all these other communities. I pray for you all everyday even though I am not Amish. I think your way of life is very interesting. And I am not the type of person who makes fun of the way the Amish dress. I think it’s wonderful, & plain like they say. They don’t buy anything or make anything that is unnessary. They are very caring & wonderful people. God Bless all of you Amish people for what you do. I like the way you do things.

    7. Nancy Consolo


      I would be nice to get an update on Katie, not often as to intrude, but just a note to say how she is doing and to see more of her pictures.

      1. Nancy, Katie’s blog which I linked first paragraph above is one way to follow goings-on. Since she’s on the other side of the lens you won’t get as much of her, but at the least you will see what she’s seeing!

    8. Carolyn B

      Hey all.

      Glad to see such an uplifting video today. Katie is an angel, I can tell. Her home looks like a tiny house on the outside. Hope American Experience interviews her again and we see more of her home and her.

    9. Kathy Rowe

      Great article and video’s Erik! Enjoyed it.
      Thanks for sharing.

    10. Galen

      Katie Troyer

      Thank you Erik for sharing Katie’s beautiful story. She is a strong woman and has had to overcome many obstacles that most of us take for granted. God Bless her.

    11. purchased photographs

      A few years ago I ordered two of Katie’s photographs that had been in Pinecraft Pauper. They are framed and sit in my bedroom. I do not know the subjects, but the images are wonderful. One is a group of Plain women of a certain age on bicycles talking to policemen on horses and the other one is two little girls talking to each other.

    12. Al in Ky

      Thanks for sharing this. Pinecraft seems like such an interesting place, but I’ll probably never be able to visit there, so am always interested to see and hear videos of daily life in Pinecraft. I’m glad Callie Wiser did those bonus videos about Katie Troyer.

    13. Katie is on my list of people I want to meet- and if I ever get to Pinecraft, if my grandpa’s not there, she’ll be the first person I hunt down! Lovely videos of her.
      And Oh- I can echo that feeling expressed near the first one of being born Amish, therefore having to stay Amish. When in fact, they forget that in their own history were people who were not born Amish (as in the religion) but became Amish. My grandma once told me that Catholics had to stay Catholic to be saved, just as Amish had to stay Amish to be saved. Never mind that their own roots trace back, eventually, to people who did not stay Catholic. I love my grandma, though, so I did not argue!

      1. Some of the best pix I have of Grandpa are ones Katie’s taken of him while he was in Pinecraft. Very glad to have them! Thanks Katie!

      2. OldKat

        Very mature position to take

        “I love my grandma, though, so I did not argue!” This is the mark of a mature person regardless how old or young they may be in actual years.

    14. DianeB


      I was absolutely moved by Katie’s story. She touched my heart. Her photographs are wonderful as well.

    15. Sandra Kathleen

      Thank you for the photos and story.