Tai Dam in United States

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The indigenous Tai Dam people (Black Tai) are so named because of the predominant color of their traditional clothing, and also because they live along the banks of the Black River. The large majority of the Tai Dam live in Vietnam with smaller groups In China and Laos. In their homeland their main livelihood is farming and animal husbandry.

The Tai Dam people are believed to have originated in southern China but gradually migrated into Southeast Asia due to oppression by the Chinese. The Tai Dam even had their own government in north Vietnam for a short time in the 1950s. The spread of smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis, and malaria was rampant among the Tai Dam in the past, decimating entire communities.

The Tai Dam use an ancient Indic script, which seems to have been the forerunner of the current script used by the Thai people in Thailand.

After the Vietnam War, a group of Tai Dam migrated to the USA. Many live in Southern California and New York City.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Rural peoples from Southeast Asia have difficulty adjusting to modern American life. The Tai Dam have been in the US for a couple of decades, so most have made that adjustment.

New arriving Tai Dam face big challenges. They must find a place to live, enroll their children in school and find jobs. The Tai Dam who have lived in the USA for decades help their families and friends when they enter their new nation. Tai Dam parents dream that their children graduate from college and enter professions in medicine, science, finance, law, and education.

In Vietnam families often arrange marriages for their young people. The Tai Dam marry within their group. In the USA, Tai Dam young people choose their own spouses. They frequently marry outside of their community. Within a generation or two, the Tai Dam are absorbed into the modern American culture. The Tai Dam speak their language at home and English at school and work.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Tai Dam are one of the few members of the Tai branch of people that never embraced Buddhism. They are animists. They believe that "non-human objects" have spirits, and that people have multiple souls. These spirits must be appeased so that they might avoid curses and receive blessings." The Tai Dam in Vietnam believe in the King of Heaven who founded the city of Dien Bien Phu. They believe there used to be a vine which reached from the earth to heaven. One mother was upset because her son kept climbing the vine to fellowship with God. She cut the vine and ever since then the Tai Dam have been unable to communicate with God.

Several years ago, a young Tai Dam man was imprisoned in southern Vietnam. He found Christ through the witness of a Vietnamese pastor, who was incarcerated at the same time for his faith. After his release, the young man returned to his village and shared his new faith. Impressed by the dramatic change in the ex-criminal's life, 753 Tai Dam turned to Christ and were baptized. In contrast to the Tai Dam church in Vietnam, which now numbers several thousand, few of their counterparts in China have ever heard the gospel.

Only a tiny fraction of Tai Dam in the USA claims to be followers of Jesus Christ.

What Are Their Needs?

The Tai Dam in the USA need to see the love of Christ demonstrated to them in practical ways. The Tai Dam need to learn or improve their English and gain new job skills. Most of all, the Tai Dam must hear the good news about Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Tai Dam in the USA.

Pray that American churches and believers will reach out and share the good news with the Tai Dam.

Pray for a spiritual hunger for Tai Dam leaders and a desire to read the New Testament.

Pray the Lord raises up a disciple making movement among the American Tai Dam in this decade.

Scripture Prayers for the Tai Dam in United States.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Tai Dam
People Name in Country Tai Dam
Pronunciation tie DAHM
Alternate Names Black Tai; Dai, Black; Do; Jinping Dai; Tai Den; Tai Do; Tai Noir; Taidam; Thái; Thai Den; Tribal Tai; Ty Dam
Population this Country 4,400
Population all Countries 933,000
Total Countries 6
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 15187
ROP3 Code 109709
ROP25 Code 307838
ROP25 Name Tai Dam
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Des Moines, Iowa   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Des Moines, Iowa.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
94.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Tai Dam (4,400 speakers)
Language Code blt   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tai Dam (4,400 speakers)
Language Code blt   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tai Dam
Photo Source Anonymous 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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