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Hezhen in China


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Hezhen in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
4,900 Nanai Ethnic Religions 4.00 % 2.00 % No   

Hezhen in China

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Introduction / History
"Nanai" means person of the Earth. Nanai are a part of the Tunguso-Manchjury group in the southern branch. In a total population of 12,000 people, a majority of the Nanai live on the territory of Khabarovsky Krai, in Nanaisky, Ulichisky, Solnechny, and Komsomolsky. They also live in Primorsky Krai and Sakhalinsk region. The Nanais that live in Northeast China call themselves Akani. Russians call the Nanais Golds, which is also used by the Ulchis, the Orochis, and the Negidals for a name with local orgins. Naikhinsky dialect is taken from the base of Nanaisky language. It takes the middle position between Upper Amur' and Lower Amur' dialects.

What are their lives like?
The Nanais lead a reasonably isolated life. There was very undeveloped communication between the different groups; some groups were even considered to be a separate people. The Nanais would do different things, fishing and hunting, depending on the movement of varieties of fish in the river. For example, in the spring and summer the Nanais would hunt for food, while in the winter the animals were hunted for fur. During their daily lives, the Nanais run businesses such as, fishing and hunting. They also grow many different things like wild herbs, home produce; however, ever since the 19th century they have started to create their own gardens and stock breed. The Nanais main meal is fish. They know several types of ways to prepare fish for long keeping, such as: stocking, freezing, salting, smoking, and pickling. Besides fish, they enjoy eating raw bone marrow, liver, nostrils and other parts of animals that have been caught by the hunters. They separate the meat on the carcass, selecting the meat for saving, and then the rest of the meat is boiled or fried over a fire.

The Nanais make their own national clothes using fish, deer, elk leather and skin, and other forms of animals. Depending on what the occasion is (occasions like: everyday, festive, work, wedding, etc.), the Nanais will have different outfits. Generally their outfit would consist of: a skirt and jacket; a leather belt with conical metal pendants; mittens with figures of lizards, serpents, or frogs; and hats with branching horns or wolf, bear, or fox fur attached to it. Occasionally they would incorporate bits of Chinese mirrors into the outfits.

Today we see a restoration of their culture. There are public organizations and associations founded in the Nanaisky and Komsomolsky regions, along with one museum. They have even started to publish their own books and textbooks in their language. Also, just like any other people group they celebrate festivals and holidays.

Most of these people in China today speak Chinese.

What are their beliefs?
Their traditional belief is shamanism; however, there are some who are Tibetan Buddhist. The Nanai believe that the shamans have the power to expel bad spirits by praying to the gods. They worship the spirits of the sun, the moon, the mountains, the water, and the trees. Among all of their beliefs, they believe that the land was once flat until great serpents gouged out the river valleys. They also believe that all of the things in the world, each thing possess its own spirit who wanders independently throughout the universe. Inanimate objects were regularly personified. A common example is Fire; it was personified as an elderly woman which they called Fadzya Mama. The children were not allowed to run up to the fire, because they might startle Faszya Mama. Men were always courteous in the presence of fire. They would generally bury the deceased in the ground, unless it was a young baby under one year whom they would put in a tree.

Prayer Points
Ask God how you can do your part in breaking down the spiritual strongholds that have kept Siberian people from Him.
Pray for the Nanai people to know the one true God and that they may receive knowledge of Him.
Please help the Nanai to recognize the God of all Creation and to worship Him rather than the creatures He has made.
Pray that God reveals Himself to Siberian people such as the Nanai even as He did to the nomadic nation of Israel and pray that He makes Himself at home in the hearts of the Nanai.
Pray that their language would be preserved so that these indigenous people may someday praise His name in each language.
Pray that God is continued to be glorified in Russia in the church and ask for blessings over the churches in Russia and help for them to reach out to the Nanai in ways that they can understand and respond.
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.

The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
The Nanais

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  Submit Update:
Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:16 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Northeast corner of Heilongjiang Province, near merge of Heilong, Songhua, and Wusuli rivers, Tongjiang county, Bacha and Jiejinkou villages; Raohe county, Sipai village.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Hezhen
People Name General: Nanai, Hezhen
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 107064
Joshua Project People ID: 13940
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 4,900
Population all Countries: 17,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
People Cluster: Altaic
People Name General: Nanai, Hezhen
Ethnic Code: MSY41i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Nanai (4,900 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): gld    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity4.00 %(Evangelical: 2.00 %)
Ethnic Religions83.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious13.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1884-2021
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
GeneralGospel resources links
Text / Printed MatterIBT, Russia - resources
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Hezhen in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Altaic     Asia, Northeast    
      Nanai, Hezhen China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Hezhen in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Nanai  
    All Religions                              

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