Amis, Ami in China

Population

1,990

Christian

0.00%

Evangelical

0.00%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway


Identity

In China, the Ami were considered too small by the government to be recognized as an official minority group. Along with the Bunun and Paiwan tribes, they were grouped together under the official banner of Gaoshan, a generic Chinese name which simply means "high mountains". The Ami believe they are descended from the god Abokurayan and from the goddess Taribrayan who produced so many children that the Ami had to move from Orchid Island to the Taiwan mainland.


History

The Ami, who "seem to be composed of several more or less unrelated ethnic elements," say their ancestors came from an overseas island called Sanasai or Vasai. Some scholars have speculated these islands are today's Caroline Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Small pockets of Ami migrated across the Taiwan Strait to China at least a century ago. Between 1946 and 1949, about 100 Ami men were forcibly enlisted in the Kuomintang forces during the civil war in China. When the KMT lost to the Communists, most stayed in Fujian and formed Ami communities.


Customs

Many Ami villages have a matrilineal clan system, with the grandmother acting as the head of the household. Some Ami believe men should only eat male fish and women should only eat female fish. They believe a woman who eats a male fish might fall sick or die. It is common practice for an Ami husband to live with his wife and mother-in-law after the marriage. "If the wife later finds that the marriage has turned sour, she will put the man's sword and trunk in front of the courtyard, which will make the man depart without complaint."


Religion

The Ami in Fujian are polytheists. Their worship includes paying homage to Maadidil (the god of Fire), Tsidar (the Sun god), Botal (the Moon god), Malataw (the god of Heaven), Makosem (the god of Rain), and Laladay (the god of Water).


Christianity

The Ami are an unreached group in China, despite the presence of a strong Ami church in Taiwan. As many as half of the 130,000 Ami in Taiwan claim to be Christians. There were only 100 Ami believers in Taiwan by 1945, but 80 churches by 1955. Recently the Presbyterians alone claimed a total of 20,989 Ami believers meeting in 138 churches. The Ami Overseas Mission sent four families to Borneo in 1968. Today there are Ami missionaries in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Teams of Ami Christians from Taiwan have ministered in China but not as yet to their own people. The Ami in Taiwan have the entire Bible in their language, but it is not available in China.



Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission

People Name General Amis, Ami
People Name in Country Amis, Ami
Population in China 1,990
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged or Unknown Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Ami, Amia, Amis, Bakurat, Gaoshan, Lamsihoan, Maran, Pagcah, Pangtsah, Sabari, Tagkah, Tanah
Affinity Bloc East Asian Peoples
People Cluster Taiwan Indigenous
People Name General Amis, Ami
Ethnic Code AUG01a
Country China
Continent Asia
Region Northeast Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country The Ami are the largest of the tribes in Taiwan, with a population of more than 130,000. In Mainland China, approximately 1,500 Ami live in small villages in southern Fujian Province. Many have settled in Beijing and Shanghai municipalities.
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Amis: Tavalong-vataan (2,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Amis: Tavalong-vataan 2,000
Category Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Largest Religion Ethnic Religions
Buddhism
0.00%
Christianity
0.00%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
80.00%
Hinduism
0.00%
Islam
0.00%
Non-Religious
20.00%
Other / Small
0.00%
Unknown
0.00%
Photo Source: COMIBAM / Sepal
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Get Involved
Register ministry activity for this group

Copyright © 2014 Joshua Project. A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.