James Andrew Buckner Sr.
INT-675 Global Christianity
Unreached People Group
I. Black Yi
II. Liangshan Yi
III. Northern Yi
IV. Nosu Yi
V. Sichuan Yi
B E A U T I F U L C O U N T Y W I T H
U N R E A C H E D P E O P L E
The Nosu are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group of China. Though classified by the
Chinese government as a subgroup of the Yi, their languages are not typically
intelligible with other Yi languages and the Nosu identify themselves as a separate
people from other Yi subgroups. Most Nosu live in the mountains of northern
Yunnan and southwest Sichuan where they labor as farmers and practice ethnic
Peoples within this cluster: Nosu, Butuo; Nosu, Mangbu; Nosu, Shengzha; Nosu,
Shuixi; Nosu, Tianba; Nosu, Xiaoliangshan; Nosu, Yinuo. 1.
T H E C H I N E S E G O V E R N M E N T A C K N O W L E D G E T H E
Y I . . M A D E U P O F M A N Y G R O U P S O F P E O P L E T H A T
S H A R E M U C H I N C O M M O N B U T M A N Y T I M E S D O
N O T C O M M U N I C A T E W I T H E A C H O T H E R .
Sichuan and Yunnan provinces: over 40 counties mainly in
Greater and Lesser Liangshan mountains.
A caste society
“The distinction between Black Yi and White Yi has generally a social, not a
geographical meaning. Black Yi refers to a caste of higher prestige in Nuosu society,
and White Yi to castes of lower social prestige. This distinction is somehow
misleading, at least when it is taken as being at the roots of a class system where 5
per cent of Black Yis would have ruled over the rest of the population, considered as
their slaves. The Nuosu society was certainly a caste society, although its formative
process is not clear. Nevertheless, the use of the expression slave society by media
and most Han scholars alike the museum on Nuosu culture in Xichang is still called
the Yi Slave Society Museum and is misleading in many ways”.2.
2. Benoît Vermander
S O C I E T Y T O D A Y S T I L L S E E S T H E Y I P E O P L E A S A S L A V E S O C I E T Y .
Nuosu Religion Explained
“The performance of rituals was authorized again at the beginning of the 1980s, and
interest in the sacred books has since greatly increased. At the same time, Ma Xueliang
and others were finally able to gather ethnographic materials on religious rituals and
beliefs. The pioneering work of Bamo Ayi looks for the rationale behind the diversity
of rituals. The Centre for the Study of Bimo Culture at Meigu is gathering and
classifying the wealth of Bimo manuscripts to be found in this part of the Liangshan
3. Benoît Vermander
I N 1 9 8 0 C H I N A A L L O W E D M O R E R E L I G I O U S
F R E E D O M A N D T H E Y I P E O P L E I N C R E A S E D T H E I R
I N T E R E S T I N P E R F O R M A N C E O F R I T U A L S
Religious Rituals Explained
1. protect their descendants instead of turning into
hungry ghosts trying to take away the share of
2. protecting oneself against the ghosts, especially
when one turns ill
3. and making decisions on the basis of divination
“Nuosu religion is characterized by the importance given to the written word.
Bimos draw their authority from their knowledge of the written rituals and these written
rituals possess an efficacy per se. This fact goes directly against what a primitive religion
would supposedly be”. 4.
“Nuosu religion is a local religion. Its
evolutionary process can be analyzed in the
light of the constantly evolving definition of
Nuosu territory and identity”. 4.
N U O S U P E O P L E C A N B E C O N S I D E R E D A R E L I G I O N T H A T I S S H A R E D
L O C A L L Y A N D N O T S H A R E D B Y O T H E R S A N Y W H E R E E L S E I N T H E
W O R L D . R I T U A L S V A R Y D E P E N D I N G O N T H E T E R R I T O R Y .
Picture of a mythological hero on a horse or often used in rituals.
“Bimoism is the indigenous religion of the Yi
people, the largest ethnic group in Yunnan after
the Han Chinese. It takes its name from the bimo,
shaman-priests who are also masters of Yi
language and scriptures, wearing distinctive black
robes and large hats”. 5
“Yi worship the spirits of ancestors, fire, hills, trees, rocks,
water, earth, sky, wind, and forests. Magic plays a major
role in daily life through healing, exorcism, asking for rain,
cursing enemies, blessing, divination and analysis of one's
relationship with the spirits. They believe dragons protect
villages against bad spirits, and demons cause diseases.
However, the Yi dragon is neither similar to dragon in
western culture nor the same as that in Han culture. After
someone dies they sacrifice a pig or sheep at the doorway
to maintain relationship with the deceased spirit”. 6.
Y I W O R S H I P I S V E R Y I M P O R T A N T T O T H E P E O P L E A S T H E Y S E E K T O
K E E P P E A C E W I T H T H E S P I R I T S T H A T A R E A R O U N D T H E M .
“The Chinese government has grouped the Nisu, Nasu, Sani,
Axi, Lolopo, Pu, and other peoples speaking more than six
distinct languages with many dialects into a single group called
the Yi. Because of this, a Yi may not be able to communicate
with another Yi; and may or may not even agree that they both
are Yi. Most Yi are farmers; herders of cattle, sheep and goats;
and nomadic hunters. Only about one third of the Yi are
literate. Most have no written language”. 7.
7.Jones, Jeb http://www.thefullwiki.org/Yi_people
Y I ’ S M A Y S H A R E A L O T I N C O M M O N W I T H E A C H
O T H E R Y E T T H E Y R E M A I N S O D I F F E R E N T F R O M
E A C H O T H E R S .
• Many of the people are uneducated and can not read
• Many of the population share very little language and can hardly understand each other.
• The culture is orally oriented so most would not think of writing a letter or a set of procedures in
Nuosu nor would they think of reading written instructions
• The Nosu have trust issues and have high fences in their homes and villages to protect them from
others as a reminder of there murderous and violent past.
• They pride themselves on being tough, residual, and aggressive people.
• Fear of harvests, rivers, numerous mountain deities, and spirits of war, among other things
• In honor of their ancestors their beliefs are set in stone as reverence for their ancestors.
Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and Jesus commissioned us to reach all people with the
message of salvation. Even in this modern world in 2016 it may seem impossible that there
are people in the world that have not heard of Jesus. The Nuosu people are made up of
many groups of people that claim to be Nuosu yet many will not get along with other Nuosu
The Nuosu many times have no written material and are unable to read so reaching them
with bibles would be difficult. Each group of people share very little language and can not
understand each other thus making it hard to reach everyone with Christ.
Rituals that are preformed are their way of life and they believe that if they are not followed
then bad things would happen to them. This would make it hard to introduce Christ to the
Nuosu people because of the beliefs.
Solution would be to find missionaries that would live among the Nuosu people and learn
their ways. Live as an example of Christ to the people and in time the people would see that
Christ can make a difference in their way of life.
I N T R O D U C I N G C H R I S T I N M Y O W N W O R D S .
People Groups Nuosu: June 13th 2016, Accessed: June 14th 2016
Nuosu: May 2016 accessed: June 14th 2016
Vermander, Benoit: Yi’s religious system Accessed: June 14th 2016
Accessed: June 2016
Accessed: June14th 2016