Black Tai of United States

People Group Info

Total Population: 10,000

ROP3 Code: 109709
IMB Affinity Group: Southeast Asian Peoples
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Tai Dam
Language: Tai Dam - (blt)
Religion: Ethnic Religions
Country of Origin: Vietnam

Majority Located Where

  Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA - 8,000

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Brief Profile

The Black Tai originated from Vietnam, Laos, and China. They are known as "the people without a country." As a result, they became refugees in Thailand and then migrated to North America, specifically to the state of Iowa.

Their name originates from the traditional black skirts and headdresses worn by Black Tai women. The black silk is embroidered with flowers and beautiful patterns. The belt is typically bright green. Black Tai women wear the traditional clothing at ceremonies.

Traditional Black Tai religion consists of spirit worship, and the spirits of ancestors are especially important. They wear white at funerals as a symbol of grief. After the funeral but before the cremation, coins are thrown into the crowd. The dead are cremated with gold and silver jewelry. This practice originates from the belief that the person's dead spirit may need to produce payment into the spirit realm.

Iowa is considered home of the Black Tai for the free world. Though their migration to the United States was 40 years ago, many still speak their mother tongue, Tai Dam, and the majority continue to adhere to their cultural traditions and festivals.

Prayer Points

  • Pray God will work through the few evangelical Black Tai to reach other Black Tai for Christ.
  • Pray God to send Christians to serve and discover people of peace among Black Tai people.


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Country City Metro Area Name State / Prov. Baseline Population
United StatesDes MoinesDes Moines-West Des MoinesIA8,000