Four hundred years ago the vast Q’iang people (Q’iang is a Chinese word meaning ‘outsiders’) succumbed to the wars by the Han Dynasty. They had lived in the mountains,on high ridges, in walled villages with Israelite like towers since the third century BC
They had kept themselves separate, but now they were defeated and a vast and continuous migration took place to the south.
Today, we know them as the “Hill Tribe “people of the “Lost book”. They are at least ten separate tribal groups and we know them as the Karen, Lahu, Lisu, Wa, Naga, Mizo, Kachin, Shan, Kui, and Palaung. All ten hill tribes in the hill regions surrounding Myanmar had a Lost Book story . They were all ready and waiting for the gospel, according to Don Richardson, from his book “Eternity in their hearts.”
The Karen are an interesting study for in the early 1830’s, missionaries, Dr and Mrs Mason who were working amongst the Sgaw Karen said…..
It is supposed by some that the Karens are part of the lost tribes of Israel. How numerous would be the members of these tribes were the sum of all who are set down as belonging to them told! It certainly is convenient when you meet with a people whom you cannot account for, to give “the lost tribes” the benefit of the doubt.
There is, however, this to be said for the above-mentioned theory, that [564/565] Dr. and Mrs. Mason found very remarkable and accurate traditions regarding the creation, the fall, and future regeneration of man.1.
The Karen reckon 2010 to be their year 2749. This means that they look to BC 739 as the year of their founding. In their legends Karen speak of coming from the land of ‘Thibi Kawbi” which some have thought may indicate Tibet and the Gobi desert. Some Karen oral traditions refer to crossing a river of “running sand” as an important event in their history. There are Chinese sources which refer to the Gobi Desert as the “river of sand,” and it is probable that the Karen originated in an area bordering Tibet. They crossed the Gobi Desert into China, and gradually made their way into the mountainous areas of Burma. Karen traditions
The Karen have a start date for their calendar year virtually the same as the year the first of the northern kingdom tribes were taken into exile. They also have a tradition that mirrors a Jewish tradition of crossing a river of sand. It was also said that these Ten Lost Tribes dwelt in a land where men had no noses but just two holes in their faces. It was here they were, as legend goes, ruled by a strong prince. This certainly sounds like the Chinese and the river of sand could be no other than the silk road passing through the Taklamakan Desert between the Mountains of Heaven Tian and the Tibetan Plateau. Dr Avigdor Shachan says that Tak lam a kan is a Hebrew phrase which means “You will destroyed here!”. No wonder the Sambatyon River legend says that these people could not come back!
- pp 564, 565 JOURNEY FROM RANGOON TO TOUNGOO, AND SIX WEEKS IN THE TOUNGOO MOUNTAINS OF BURMA BY THE REV. JOHN TREW, S.P.G. Missionary. From Mission Life, Vol. V (1874), pages 563-578.