Originally from the mountainous regions of China, Laos and Thailand, these small tribes of the Miao ethnicity moved south from China in the 18th century following political unrest, looking for more arable land to farm
They speak a variety of Hmong-Mien languages. The last population count stood at 470,000 which makes them the ninth largest ethnic group in Vietnam. Women usually wear an embroidered blouse over trousers and men wear short shirts, long trousers and a headscarf. The square of fabric on the back of their clothes symbolizes that they are children of God. Both men and women shave the sides of their heads but leave their hair long on top and women may also shave their eyebrows. A usual headpiece is a red triangle shaped turban with silver coins and red tassels.
According to genetic tests, the mountain tribes belong mainly to Y-DNA haplogroup D2 (a haplogroup that is found uniquely in and frequently throughout Japan including Okinawa with its closest relations being Tibetans and Andaman Islanders in the Indian Ocean)
Meet The Ainu Tribe
A larger group in those mountain tribes is one that is called the Ainu tribe. In 1899, the Japanese government passed an act which labelled the Ainu “former Aborigines”, ostensibly declaring that the Ainu had been integrated into the Japanese population – the act, together with the various assimilation policies had the drastic effect of eroding Ainu identity and traditions. The Meiji government’s 1899 assimilation policies resulted in the ban of the Ainu language and Ainu children being given Japanese names and put into Japanese schools. As a result of these policies, many Ainu people suffered discrimination and became ashamed of their language and culture. The act continued for a hundred years.