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Naru in China


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Naru in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
16,000 Language unknown Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Naru in China

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The Naru have been officially included under the Yi nationality in China, even though they retain a separate ethnicity and history from other Yi groups. The Naru are called Shuitian (Watery Fields People) by the Chinese. This name, used by the Chinese for several small Yi groups, is not used by any of the groups to describe themselves.

The Naru claim they originated in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces in eastern China in ancient times. They were probably Chinese soldiers who were sent to patrol northern Yunnan Province. Over the centuries the descendants of the original soldiers intermarried with local Yi tribeswomen and gradually developed into a distinct ethnic group. One source claims, "The Naru are certain to have once been the same people as the Naruo with whom they now have only mild cultural and linguistic differences."

When a Naru couple decides to get married, they tell their parents who then arrange for a meeting. Both sets of families come together and "engage in a whiskey drinking ceremony after which they playfully argue about the amount of gifts to be given and received until a compromise is reached. Rice whiskey also plays an important role in the actual wedding. If all the guests don't drink in agreement, then the couple cannot be considered married. Naru weddings are usually very festive and expensive occasions participated in by some 200 guests."

The center of a Naru home is the kitchen fire-pit. "A day of grazing goats, cows and mules and working the corn, rice or tobacco fields climaxes around the lapping flames of the family fire-pit as the smoke wends its way through the open rafters. While gazing into the flames, all smoke their tobacco bongs or long-pipes and engage in story-telling and laughter." The Naru worship a spirit that they believe actually resides in the fire-pit. They also worship their ancestors and experience more Daoist and Buddhist influence than most other Yi groups. This is possibly due to their origins as Chinese soldiers.

The remote mountains of Yongsheng and Huaping counties have been formidable barriers to the introduction of the gospel into the area. Before the 1960s there were few roads in the region. As a result, no long-term missionary work was ever undertaken in this part of China. Today the Naru are an unreached people group with no church or believers.

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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:23 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:More than 11,500 Naru people live in northern Yunnan Province in southwest China. Seven thousand inhabit areas in the southern and central parts of Yongsheng County, while 4,500 live in southern Huaping County.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Naru
People Name General: Naru
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 114243
Joshua Project People ID: 18623
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 16,000
Population all Countries: 16,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Naru
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Language unknown (16,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): Unknown     
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions97.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious3.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Naru in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tibeto-Burman, other     Asia, Northeast    
      Naru China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Naru in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Language unknown  
    All Religions                              

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