Identity This group calls itself Nosu. The loconym Shuixi has been added to distinguish them from the several other groups in southern China who call themselves Nosu, but who speak different languages from the Shuixi Nosu.
History The Shuixi Nosu have migrated farther northeast than any other Yi group in southern China. Their migrations occurred as they fled Chinese military aggression.
Customs Until 1949 many of the Shuixi Nosu owned large estates. In the early 1900s, Samuel Clarke reported they were "as big as an English county, and all the people on the estate are their tenants. The lairds are all of them Black Nosu, and the White Nosu are their slaves or serfs. These lairds are nearly all related to one another, as they constantly intermarry for the sake of joining and enlarging their estates. A Nosu heiress is always pestered and sometimes actually besieged by suitors. A laird always marries the daughter of some other laird, as there is but a limited number of them, this constant intermarriage has doubtless contributed to the decadence of the race and to the frequency of lunacy among them. They may, and often do, have Chinese and Miao women as concubines. ... The lairds are glad to have the Miao as tenants; the rent they pay is mostly in kind, and not by any means high. As a matter of fact, the tenants, for the sake of mutual protection, group themselves in hamlets and villages. Besides the nominal rent they pay, the laird has the right to make levies on them on special occasions, such as funerals, weddings, and when he has litigation in the Chinese courts."
Religion The Shuixi Nosu have many gods and deities who, they feel, need to be frequently appeased in order to bring peace and prosperity to their communities.
Christianity Today there are about 5,000 Shuixi Nosu Christians in China, mostly in the Dafang and Nayong counties of Guizhou Province. Many Shuixi Nosu have heard the gospel from the A-Hmao and Gha-Mu - two Miao groups who live intermingled with the Shuixi Nosu. On 2 July 1910, the famous missionary Samuel Pollard recorded in his diary: "Today I saw a miracle. At this lonely place of Ssu-fangching the Church was full of Nosu, and at their request Chang-yo-han was preaching to them. The proud Nosu listening to one of their Miao serfs."
Approximately 230,000 Shuixi Nosu live in the mountains of southern China. The majority are found in northern Guizhou Province, especially Bijie, Qianxi, Jinsha, Dafang, Zhijin, Nayong, and Qingzhen counties. An additional 20,900 Shuixi Nosu live in Zhenxiong County of Yunnan Province, while a small number spill across the border into Gulin County of Sichuan Province. (Source: Operation China, 2000)