Identity Unlike some of the Cona Monba, who were counted in the Tibetan nationality, it appears that all of the Medog Monba have been counted as part of the Monba nationality.
History The Medog Monba became poverty stricken following the implementation of a feudal system imposed on them by the Zhuba Geju faction in the fourteenth century. For centuries they were effectively slaves of the Tibetans.
Customs The Monba are known for their hospitality. They have a great love for music, singing, and dancing. "Most of them are able to play the traditional bamboo flute, a short thick instrument with four finger holes. ... Their silversmiths are skillful in designing bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and other ornaments." At Monba weddings, the bride's uncle is the most honored guest. According to tradition, he "finds fault in everything, complaining the meat slices are too thick and the drinks too cheap. He bangs on the table with his fists, glowering angrily at everyone who passes. He behaves in this way to test the groom's family and observe their reactions."
Religion The majority of Monba follow Tibetan Buddhism. Some, however, still maintain their traditional belief in unseen gods, demons, and ancestral spirits. Shamans and some Buddhist monks frequently use magic to cure the sick.
Christianity The Medog Monba are completely unaware that Christ came two millennia ago and died for their sin. No missionaries were allowed to work in this area of Tibet in the past. There are no churches near Medog for more than a hundred miles in any direction. The Medog Monba have existed for generations without any flicker of spiritual light to brighten their lives. Few have ever interceded on their behalf for Christian workers to reach these lonely communities with the good news.
A 1987 study reported 5,000 speakers of the Medog Monba living in China. The majority are located in Medog County in southern Tibet. A few are also found in the Dongjiu area of Linzhi County. All Monba in Tibet are located in the vast Menyu Prefecture. One linguist states, "The Medog Monba live mainly in Medog County in Tibet as well as Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh. This is a very small group… with the majority in India, quite distinct linguistically from the [Cona] Monba." Inaccessible for most of the year due to snow and landslides, Medog was the last county in China to become accessible to land vehicles. In 1994 a road was built there for the first time. Medog contains many Bengali tigers and 40 species of other rare, protected animals. (Source: Operation China, 2000)