The Yi people group is comprised of at least six separate linguistic subgroups spread primarily across the enclaves of the Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces in southwest China. The Yi is the seventh-largest of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China.
Many Yi live in mountainous areas, often carving out their existence on the sides of steep mountain slopes by farming, hunting and herding. While the Yi generally live far from cities, a great number have recently migrated to more populated areas to find low-paying work.
The Yi are animists, with elements of Daoism, shamanism, and fetishism. Shamans medicine men are known as “bimo.” The worship of ancestors is central to their lives. After someone dies, loved ones sacrifice a pig or sheep at the doorway of their home to maintain relationship with the deceased spirit.
- In addition to being geographically isolated, the Yi are linguistically divided by six major dialects. Pray that those who have been called to reach the Yi would be empowered by the Spirit to overcome these obstacles and bring the gospel to this people group.
- Many of the Yi practice animal sacrifices to appease spirits following tragic events. Pray that by God’s Spirit they would come to know Jesus as their Comforter.