Photo Source: Copyrighted © 2021
Operation China, Asia Harvest All rights reserved. Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
|Primary Religion:||Ethnic Religions|
|Christian Adherents:||0.90 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||Tibeto-Burman, other|
|Affinity Bloc:||Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples|
The Zokhuo are a distinct ethnic group. They are proud of their unique ethnicity and history as a people and do not see themselves to be the same as any other people group. Despite these facts, the Chinese authorities have placed the Zokhuo under the large and all-embracing Yi nationality which contains 120 different groups. Jamin Pelkey notes, "The Zokhuo consider themselves different from the Poluo around them, and certainly do not consider themselves to be Yi." Some of the alternate names for the Zokhuo include Niuweiba (Cowtail), Changpu (Long Pu) and Baipu (White Pu). These are probably names given to them by other ethnic groups and are not used by the Zokhuo themselves.
According to Zokhuo oral history, they originally lived in the Dali area of west central Yunnan and migrated to Wenshan around the time of the Nanzhao Kingdom (possibly about AD 900).
Chinese anthropologist Lu Jinyu visited the Zokhuo extensively in the early 1990s. He studied Zokhuo culture in all 16 of their villages and published a 30-page paper in Chinese. Lu found that the Zokhuo culture and language are thriving. The Zokhuo practice a number of special customs and festivals throughout the year, when they dress up in their traditional attire.
The Zokhuo are polytheistic animists. Their worldview is shaped by their belief in the spirit world. The Zokhuo live in simple houses near streams or some other water source. Traditionally, they do not dig wells, for fear of "striking the veins of the dragon" that they believe lives in the water underneath the earth.
The Zokhuo have no known Christians in their midst. Their close-knit communities and strong desire to maintain their culture possibly mean they will view Christianity as a threat to their way of life. To date, few Zokhuo have ever heard of Jesus Christ.