Identity Until 1997 the Ga Mong had been combined with numerous other groups to form the Miao nationality in China. The Chinese call this group Dong Jia. Jia means "family" or "household." The Dong Jia are not the same as the large Dong people group of eastern Guizhou Province. The Chinese character used for Dong Jia is different from that used for the official Dong minority. The Ga Mong speak their own language and have their own set of customs and festivals, different from all other peoples in the area. This group calls itself Ga Mong or Ge Mong. Local Chinese call them Yangya Miao which means "duckraising Miao." In 1997 the government reclassified the Ga Mong into the She nationality, the majority of whom are located in Fujian and Guangdong provinces. The Ga Mong are upset with this change and demand to be given their own status.
History The Ga Mong claim a history dating back as far as the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279). During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Ga Mong were a powerful group. They were continually fighting and defending territory. At one stage 13 armed groups of Ga Mong attacked the city of Duyun.
Customs The Ga Mong celebrate their own set of festivals. Every year on the 18th of October they stage bullfights and cockfights and have a massive communal feast. Prominent family names among the Ga Mong include Wu, Luo, Gin, Ting, Wang, and Yang.
Religion The primary religious practice among the Ga Mong is ancestor worship. Every home has an ancestral altar. Any action that may offend their ancestors is considered a most serious matter. Bowls of food and drink are placed on the table several times each year, to honor the dead among the family and to ensure they will have enough food in the next life. In one location in Kaili, there was found to be belief in the "heaven-dog religion." This probably refers to the worship of Pan Hu, also practiced by many Yao groups in China.
Christianity There are no known Christians among the Ga Mong. They live in one of the most spiritually neglected areas of China. Few have ever heard the gospel, and most have never even met a Christian. The nearest believers to the Ga Mong are the handful of small churches among the Northern Hmu and Ge in the Panghai area, east of Kaili.
A 1990 government study listed 41,861 Ga Mong people living in Guizhou Province. Their villages are spread out in parts of five counties of central Guizhou. In Duyun County, 2,679 Ga Mong live in 14 villages. The remainder live in parts of Kaili, Majiang, Longli, and Xiuwen counties. (Source: Operation China, 2000)