The Northern Huishui Miao are defined as a group purely on the basis of a linguistic classification within the Miao nationality, which contains "30-40 languages in China." The Northern Huishui Miao language group may consist of several ethnic subgroups.
According to legend, in about 2550 BC a Miao chief, Jiyou, was defeated by the Han race. The Miao were forcibly exiled to the inhospitable mountains in southern China. Military campaigns were launched against the Miao for centuries. Throughout the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), more than 80 fierce attacks were made against the Miao - an average of one every three years. In 1832 another Miao rebellion was directed by the selfappointed "Golden Dragon King," who dressed in yellow robes. He declared that the government of China had lost its "mandate from heaven" and, therefore, no longer had a right to rule over the Miao people. He mobilized a large army with his promise to overthrow the Qing Dynasty, but without the arms or means to pose a threat, he was soon captured and executed, and the rebellion was crushed.
Music is always at the center of Miao celebrations and social gatherings, whether it involves singing, instrument playing, or leaf-blowing. Traditional love songs are handed down from generation to generation. Two young lovers may sing to each other in questionand- answer form to express their mutual feelings. Many annual Miao festivals are held which offer a chance for young people from different villages to mix and for romance to blossom.
Most Northern Huishui Miao live in fear and bondage to evil spirits which harass them continually. Some Miao stories tell of a dark place inhabited by demons and ruled by a demon king. To the Miao, demons are the souls of humans, birds, or animals. If a deceased person had no descendants to continue his family line, or if his descendants do not make proper offerings, he becomes a demon and causes harm to people.
Few of the early missionaries focused on the Miao groups in southern Guizhou. As the great people movement to Christ unfolded in northwest Guizhou and in Yunnan among the A-Hmao and Gha- Mu, many of the missionaries placed among other Miao groups were summoned to lend a hand to disciple these new believers. This is one of the reasons why the gospel has never taken a firm foothold among most of the Miao groups in China. Most Northern Huishui Miao are completely unaware of Christ or the claims of the gospel.