Brief Introduction of Daur Ethnic Group
“Outstanding Player of Field Hockey”
Along both of the prosperous and scenic banks of the Nenjiang River in Northeast China live the Daurs, an ethnic minority group mainly engaged in agriculture, along with stock breeding and fishing and hunting. With a population of more than 120 000, the Daur people live mainly in Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ewenki Autonomous Banner, Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province and the Tacheng area in Xinjiang.
The Daur people have their own language, which belongs to the Mongolian branch of the Altai family and consists of three dialects, that is, the dialects of Buteha, Qiqihar and Xinjiang. Having lived with the local people of diverse ethnic groups for a long term, most Duar people also know the languages of Chinese, Mongolian, Uygur, Hazak or Ewenki.
The word “Daur” is what this ethnic minority call themselves. Due to transliteration, there were once different translations, such as “Dahur” (with two kinds of Chinese character writings) and “Dagur”. The name “Daur” was first brought into being in late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty. According to some relevant documents, legends and studies on the language, geographical distribution and customs of the Daur people, they share the same ancestry with the ancient Khitans.
Ever since ancient time the Duars have been well known for their bravery and skillfulness in battle. They performed immortal feats in a string of struggles for independence and liberation of Chinese nation, such as repelling against Tsarist Russia, opposing the invasion of Japanese imperialists, protecting liberated areas and fighting in Liaoxi-Shenyang Campaign.
The Daurs attach great importance to national education. Even in the early 20th century, some members of the upper strata and intellectuals took an active part in establishing schools and set up some folk organizations, such as Education Committee, Commission for Education Promotion, and Association of Education Assistance. They also made donations for schooling, helping students born of poor family be enrolled into high school and college and even study abroad, and thus helped to produce national intellectuals generation after generation. So far the average schooling of the Daurs ranks among the high levels of all the ethnic groups nationwide.