Awu, Northern in China

Joshua Project has identified the Awu, Northern only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



Although the Northern Awu share the same autonym as the Southeastern Awu, the two groups speak vastly differing languages and live separated by more than 200 miles of rugged mountains. The Northern Awu have been officially included under the Yi nationality by the Chinese government, even though they possess their own customs, ethnicity, and language.


The Northern Awu have lived in their remote part of Yunnan Province for many centuries. They may have been former slaves of the Xiaoliangshan Nosu, who dominated the lives of people in the area until slave trade was finally abolished in the late 1950s.


Numerous festivals are celebrated by the Yi peoples of northern Yunnan. The Northern Awu participate in many of them, including the Garment Competition which involves the women's embroidery skills. All the women are dressed in their finest attire, which causes the hillsides to come alive with color. Later, there is singing and dancing, and special competitions are held. This festival affords young people a chance to meet prospective partners. It also allows older participants a time to relax from their work and to catch up with their friends and relatives from other areas.


The Northern Awu believe in a host of spirits and deities which must be appeased in order to bring peace and prosperity to their communities. They also believe the human soul lives on after death and travels back to the abode of ancestors.


Little Christian activity has ever taken place in Yongsheng County. The remote mountains and former threat of slavery combined to keep evangelists and missionaries away from the area. As a result, the Northern Awu are an unreached and unevangelized people group with no access to the gospel and no contact with Christians.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Awu, Northern (Ah-woo)
People Name in Country Awu, Northern
Population in China 4,600
World Population 4,600
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Awupu, Awuzhe, Xiangtan
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Awu, Northern (Ah-woo)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18403
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Numbering just 3,500 people, the Northern Awu inhabit the Peiyuan, Shuiping, and Yongle communities within the Da'an District of Yongsheng County in northern Yunnan Province. Yongsheng is the only area known to be inhabited by the Northern Awu..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nuosu (4,600)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nuosu 4,600
For Primary Language: Nuosu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament Yes   (2005)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Nuosu Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
97.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
3.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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