Many are no more interrelated than vari- ous Native American groups

Finishing the Harvest Among China’s Miao Peoples

“Many are no more interrelated than the vari- ous Native American groups in the United States.”

Hmong family near Lai Chau. Northwest Vietnam

Finishing the Harvest Among China’s Miao Peoples

by Wesley Kawato

If the definition of a people group is a people who share a common language and culture, then the Miao “nationality” actually includes more than 100 people groups! Linguists have classified the languages spoken by the Miao peoples into at least eight language families. Many are no more interrelated than the vari- ous Native American groups in the United States. Among the Miao groups are the Hmong peoples. Many people don’t realize that there are many people groups in southeast Asia and south China that include “Hmong” in their names, even when they aren’t related. What happened was that the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) grouped many tribes together that live in the southern provinces of China like Yunnan and Guizhou, and called them “Miao.” In doing so, they created a cluster of peoples that we will pray for this entire month. Many people associate the Miao peoples with Southeast Asia, not realizing that there are also many Miao peoples living in southern China. Names can also be confusing. Miao people groups may call themselves Hmong or Hma, or some varia- tion thereof. Miao groups with similar names may in fact speak languages that belong to entirely different language families! There is much confusion in Western countries because most people are only aware of one Miao people group cluster, the Hmongs. This group lives mainly in Vietnam and Laos, though some live in China. The Hmongs helped America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) fight the Commu- nists during the 60s and the 70s. After the Communist victory, many Hmongs fled to the United States to avoid persecution. The Hmongs are not typical of Miao people groups. Most Miaos live in southern China, not Southeast Asia. Most Southeast Asia Hmong groups have many follow- ers of Jesus Christ, though there are some that remain unreached that we will pray for from days 3-7. Most Miao people groups are still unreached. Spiritually there is a wide disparity between the various Miao people groups of our world. Many Southeast Asian Hmong groups have strong churches today, yet they are an offshoot of a Miao people group living in southern China that has few if any followers of Jesus Christ.


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