Naza in China

Naza
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Naza
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,800
World Population: 1,800
Primary Language: Language unknown
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Naza were formerly involved in the slave system that dominated people's lives in the northern Yunnan-southern Sichuan area. The history of the tribes in this region also featured regular warfare and conflict. Larger groups, such as the Xiaoliangshan Nosu, have used their population size to oppress and enslave smaller tribes, often raiding their villages and carrying away men, beasts and goods.

The Naza have been officially counted in China as part of the Yi nationality. They live in the same district as the Liude people yet retain a separate ethnicity from the Liude and all other Yi groups in China. The Naza are also known as the Nazaren and Nazasu.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Naza today lead relatively quiet lives in the mountains. They raise pigs, goats and poultry as well as grow rice and vegetables. Until the 1970s few people knew of the Naza. Their village is still accessible by foot only.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Polytheism, mixed with ancestor worship, is the main religious belief of the Naza. They worship the sun, moon, and stars, as well as a host of local spirits and deities. One missionary in the early 1900s, commenting on the spiritual beliefs of the Yi in a different area, wrote, "After the ingathering of buckwheat, when the crop is stacked on the threshing floor and the work of threshing is about to begin, the simple formula 'Thank you Je-so-mo' is pronounced. Je-so-mo seems to be a spirit who controls the crops; whether good or evil is not easy to determine. Mo is the generic name for 'sage' or 'spirit'. Je-so is so like the name Je-su, which the Chinese and Miao use for Jesus, that some of the Yi wished to use Je-so for the name of our Savior; but to this the missionaries very wisely did not consent, as they did not know who, or what sort of a person, Je-somo was. Je-so-mo is not God, for when the Nosu wish to speak of God they use the word Se, which means 'Master' or 'Lord'."

The Naza are an unreached and largely unevangelized people group. No more than a few of their population have ever received an intelligible gospel witness. Yongsheng County is almost completely devoid of Christian presence, except for a few Han Chinese and possibly Lisu believers.

What Are Their Needs?

Without the guidance of Christ, these people are like sheep without a shepherd. They need the good shepherd in their families and communities.

Prayer Points

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders to happen among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project