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Lisu

From Academic Kids

The Lisu people are an ethnic group who inhabit Myanmar (Burma) China, Thailand, and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. They are believed to originate from eastern Tibet.

The Lisu form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. 30,000 live in Thailand, where they are one of the six main hill tribes. Traditionally living in villages high in the mountains, Western missionaries have attempted to convert them to Christianity.

Spiritually strong as they were, they practice animist and ancestor worship that was practised for centuries. However, some Lisu are Protestant Christians. The first Lisu to be reached by Christian missionaries were the Salween branch of the Lisu in Yunnan Province, China. The Scottish missionary James O. Fraser was the first Christian ever to have Lisu converts. In the 1930s and 1940s, other missionaries such as the couples Isobel Kuhn and John Kuhn continued the missionary work once Fraser died. Several Christian missions in Thailand have also been set up for the Lisu. Some Lisu have resisted the missionary change, as some people opinion that Christianity subjects their original religion and culture to gradual decay.

Lisu villages are usually built close to water, and preferably close to a waterfall as they believe that water is a special power. Their homes are usually built on the ground and have dirt floors and bamboo walls, although an increasing number of the more affluent Lisu are now building houses from wood or even concrete.

For hundreds of years the Lisu lived from agriculture, growing mountain rice, fruit and vegetables. They also grew poppies for opium production although this practice has all but disappeared in most areas due to international pressure. Despite this pressure a small proportion of Lisu are still addicted to opium, or its more common derivative, heroin.

The womenfolk wear brightly coloured costumes, usually consisting of a red, blue or green multi-coloured knee length tunic with a wide black belt and blue, black or green pants. Sleeves shoulders and cuffs are embroidered with narrow horizontal bands of blue, red and yellow. Men wear baggy pants (or Culottes), usually in bright colours but normally wear a more western type of shirt or top.

The Lisu have their own language which has developed over the decades to include words from their adopted countries languages. This makes it difficult for Lisu from neighbouring countries to communicate to each other. Since the Lisu language has no written script, their history is passed from one generation to the next in the form of a song.

Today, this song is so long that it can take more than a week to sing. Recently, Christian missionaries have taught a written form of Lisu developed by the Scottish missionary James O. Fraser. Many Lisu, particularly in Burma, have converted to Christianity and learned the Lisu script.

Linguistic classification

  • A.K.A.: Lisaw/Yobin
  • Language family: Tibeto-Burman
  • Language branch: Lolo

References

External links



Chinese ethnic groups (classification by PRC government)

Achang - Bai - Blang - Bonan - Buyei - Chosen - Dai - Daur - De'ang - Derung - Dong - Dongxiang - Ewenki - Gaoshan - Gelao - Gin - Han - Hani - Hezhen - Hui - Jingpo - Jino - Kazak - Kirgiz - Lahu - Lhoba - Li - Lisu - Man - Maonan - Miao - Monba - Mongol - Mulao - Naxi - Nu - Oroqen - Pumi - Qiang - Russ - Salar - She - Sui - Tajik - Tatar - Tu - Tujia - Uygur - Uzbek - Va - Xibe - Yao - Yi - Yugur - Zang - Zhuang

Template:TOAPes:Lisu

ja:リス族 zh:傈僳族

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