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Ethnic Minority Groups in Heilongjiang

With a population of over 36.8 million, there are about 35 ethical groups living in Heilongjiang Province. Among them the most characteristic ethical groups are Hezhe fishermen, Ewenki Hunters and Daur ethnical group, who raises mainly cattles. Their life styles are very different from each others. So if you are interested, you might feel free to spend time with them.

Hezhe Minority in Heilongjiang Province

There are 4,200 Hezhe people left today. This Hezhe community is made up of a tiny collection of solid one-story buildings and a few mud houses with thatched roofs. Only four of the women still know how to make the traditional fish skin clothes.The Hezhe people from Heilongjiang Province have long depended on fish for their survival, and not just for food, but also for their clothing. For centuries this minority group has donned fish skins, except in the winter when they kept cozy in deer fur. 

Hezhe MinorityHezhe 2.jpg

The best skins are from live salmon caught in late September in nets in the Heilongjiang River which meets the Songhua and Wusuli Rivers near Hezhe village. To soften them, they cover the fish skins in corn flour and then roll and mash them in a wooden, jaw-like instrument called a "mu he" in Putonghua and a "ge ji kou" in the Hezhe language. They also make the skin flexible by rubbing the pieces together by hand. Then comes the cutting. For more local flavor, the village offers a museum and store with fish bone sculptures and modern fish skin shoes and purses, made in south China from Heilongjiang fish skins.

Another and larger museum about the Hezhe people is just outside the nearby city of Jiamusi. Exhibited there are fishing implements, old costumes and historical paintings and photos. To live off of the land is one thing, but to live off of the fish is something all those interested in our finned friends should see.

Travel Tips

Getting there: Fly directly to Jiamusi, near Hezhe, and then hire a driver to arrive at the village.  

Where to stay: We can help arrange a stay in the village with one of the Hezhe families or at a nearby hotel.

What to eat: The salmon not only looks good on, but is delicious and fresh to eat.

Where to play: The museums give a decent overview of the Hezhe people, but hanging out with the villagers in their homes was just as educational and more fun.

Ewenki Minority in Heilongjiang Province

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Ethnic Minority Groups in Heilongjiang - Heilongjiang Travel Guide - Zhangjiajie China Tours, China Travel Guide

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