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Part-time ``cultural ambassador'' seeks to inherit Heze ethnic culture-Xinhua News Agency

Harbin, Sept. 15 (Xinhua News Agency) — The Hezhes are one of China’s smallest ethnic minority groups. They live primarily by hunting and fishing in the plains of Heilongjiang province in northeastern China.

Shang Meihan is a young woman from the Hezhe ethnic group. The 25-year-old works as a civil servant in the Wusu township government and is also a part-time “cultural ambassador”. In her spare time, she volunteers in the Heze ethnic village as a folk exhibition guide and folk art performer.

On the other hand, Shan has a dream of inheriting Heze ethnic culture. Not only does she teach her children the songs and dances of Gochetsu, but she also learns traditional fish skin handicrafts from experienced craftsmen.

“We Heze people do not have a written language, so we rely on non-verbal inheritance of culture,” says Shang Meihan. “My dream is to contribute as much as I can to the preservation of my culture.”

Shan Meihan (second from right) spends time with local children in the flower fields of Zuaji, Heze Ethnic Village in Wusu Township, Fuyuan City, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, on September 4, 2022.

Shan Meihan (fourth from left) joins other performers at the Folklore Exhibition Hall in Zuazi, Heze Ethnic Village, Wusu Township, Fuyuan City, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, on September 4, 2022. Participating in figure training. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan (right) participates in figure skating training at the Folk Exhibition Center of Wanzhi, an ethnic village of the Aji ethnic group in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, on September 4, 2022. (Xinhua News Agency/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan (first row right) dances with other performers at the Folk Exhibition Center in Huze, a ethnic village in Huihui, Wushu Township, Fuyuan City, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, on September 4, 2022. Showing off. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan (right) performs the Yuan Zhi Dance at the Folklore Exhibition Hall of the Yuanchuan Ethnic Village of the Aiji people in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, on September 4, 2022. (Xinhua News Agency/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan poses for a photo in ethnic dress at the Emishi village of the Shapo ethnic group in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, on September 4, 2022. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan (R) rests during a rehearsal at the Ezo ethnic village of the Aiji people in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, 4 September 2022. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan (first row right) dances with other performers at the Folk Exhibition Center in Huze, a ethnic village in Huihui, Wushu Township, Fuyuan City, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, on September 4, 2022. Showing off. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Shan Meihan (second from right) attends a dance rehearsal with other performers at the Shadao Ezo Village in Wusu Township, Fuyuan City, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, on September 4, 2022. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Shang Meihan (L) making handicrafts with experienced artisans in Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, September 7, 2022 (Xinhua/Wang Jianwei)

Shang Meihan teaches children to make handicrafts in Zuazi, an Aijiang village in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, on September 7, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Jianwei)

Xiang Meihan (second from right) during a dance rehearsal with other performers at Zuazi, an Aji ethnic village in Wusu Township, Fuyuan City, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, 4 September 2022 (Xinhua/ Wang Jianwei)

Shan Meihan learns how to make traditional fish skin handicrafts from an experienced craftsman in a Xiadai village in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, 7 September 2022. (Left) (Xinhua News Agency/Zhang Tao)

Shan Meihan shows children handicrafts using fish skin in Zuazi, an ethnic village of the Sumijiang people in Wusu township, Fuyuan city, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, on September 7, 2022. (Xinhua News Agency/Zhang Tao)

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