Yakut in China

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People Name: Yakut
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,900
World Population: 479,900
Primary Language: Yakut
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ural-Siberian
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Although the Yakut have officially been included as part of the Ewenki nationality in China, they have their own language and customs. They identify themselves as "Yakut" to outsiders.

In the late 1800s, a small Yakut group migrated from far inside the Yakutia region of Siberia, stopping first in the Buriat region before finally proceeding into China. Today's Yakut in China descended from this group. Most live in Russia today, but a small number are in northeastern China.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Yakut live uncomplicated, seminomadic lives, tending reindeer and dwelling in simple tents. The Yakut of China drink alcohol and they have a high alcoholism rate. It is so prevalent that the number of murders, early deaths and suicides attributable to alcohol abuse may seriously jeopardize the future of this small group. People associate the Yakut with their strong, hardy, massive Yakut draft horses from Siberia.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Yakut are shamanists who believe in faith healing and spirit possession.

In the late 1800s, anthropologist Waldemar Jochelson vividly described a Yakut religious ceremony: "A shaman has come to heal a sick woman, whose soul has been captured by evil spirits. He has put himself into a trance by inhaling tobacco, dancing, and beating his drum. Now his soul will travel to the spirit world and do battle in order to retrieve the woman's soul and thus restore her. His assistant holds the shaman by a chain so that if he gets lost or trapped in the spirit world he can be pulled back. Some of the flat iron pendants on the shaman's robe represent bird feathers, which allow the shaman's soul to fly. ... As the shaman dances, the noise made by these pieces and by the copper bells and rattles on the robe, as well as the sound of his drum and singing, help summon the spirits."

Although Russian Orthodox missionaries evangelized the Yakut in Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, few Yakut experienced a living faith in Christ. In 1996, four evangelists traveled to the Yakut in China, taking with them a gospel recording of Bible stories in the Yakut language from Russia. The recipients were overjoyed to hear their own language.

What Are Their Needs?

The Yakut need to learn about the Lord. They need to be able to read the scriptures in their language. They also have physical and material needs that have not been addressed.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to send willing workers to the harvest field among the Yakut.
Pray for the Yakut people to have the resources they need to meet their physical and material needs.
Pray for them to have open hearts to receive from God, understand who he is, and a willingness to turn their lives over to Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project