Population migrations in Southwest and South China have played an important role in the formation of East Asian populations and led to a high degree of cultural diversity among ethnic minorities living in these areas. To explore the genetic relationships of these ethnic minorities, we systematically surveyed the variation of 10 autosomal STR markers of 1,538 individuals from 30 populations of 25 ethnic minorities, of which the majority were chosen from Southwest China, especially Yunnan Province. With genotyped data of the markers, we constructed phylogenies of these populations with both DA and DC measures and performed a principal component analysis, as well as a clustering analysis by structure. Results showed that we successfully recovered the genetic structure of analyzed populations formed by historical migrations. Aggregation patterns of these populations accord well with their linguistic affiliations, suggesting that deciphering of genetic relationships does in fact offer clues for study of ethnic differentiation.