|Regions with significant populations|
|Northeast India (particularly Mizoram and Manipur regions); Chin State and Arakan State, Myanmar; parts of Chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh; diaspora in United States; Australia; Thailand|
|Various Chin, Kuki, Mara, Hmar, Mizo & Zomi languages|
|Predominantly Christianity, minority Animism and Buddhism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Naga, Meitei, Kachin, Karen, Shan, Karbi|
The Zo people/Zomi are an ethnic group which can be found in India, Myanmar and in Chittagong hill tracks of Bangladesh. The word Zo is used to describe an ethnic group, which is also known as the Chin, the Mizo, the Kuki, or a number of other names based on geographic distribution, that is a member of a large group of related Tibeto-Burman peoples spread throughout the northeastern states of India, northwestern Myanmar (Burma) and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. In northeastern India, they are present in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam.
The dispersal across international borders resulted from a British colonial policy that drew borders on political, rather than ethnic, grounds . They speak more than fifty dialects.
Various names have been used for the Zo peoples, but the individual groups generally acknowledge descent from ancestral Zo. Among the more prominent names given to this group are "Chin" and "Zomi" generally in Myanmar, and "Mizo","Kuki" and "Zomi", generally in India.
In the literature, the term Kuki first appeared in the writings of Rawlins when he wrote about the tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. It referred to a "wild tribe" comprising numerous clans. These clans shared a common past, culture, customs and tradition. They spoke in dialects that had a common root language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman group.
The origin of the name "Chin" is unknown . Later the British used the compound term "Chin-Zomi-Mizo" to group the Zomish language speaking people, and the Government of India inherited this. Missionaries chose to employ the term Chin to christen those on the Burmese side and the term Zomi on the Indian side of the border. Chin nationalist leaders in Burma's Chin State popularized the term "Chin" following Burma's independence from Britain.
Beginning in the 1990s, the generic names Chin and Zomi have been rejected by some for "Zomi", a name used by a group speaking Northern Zomish languages, including the Zomi. The speakers of the Northern Zomish languages are sometimes lumped together as the Zomi's.Some Zomi nationalists have stated that the use of the label Chin would mean subtle domination by Burmese groups.
The term "Mizo" (poetic version of "Zomi"), was incorporated in the name of the Indian state Mizoram.
Further information: Zomia (region)
They are spread out in the contiguous regions of Northeast India, Northwest Burma (Myanmar), and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. In India, they are most prominent in Manipur, Nagaland, Assam and Mizoram. Some fifty Zo peoples are recognised as scheduled tribes.
Like other tribes of the world, Zo people have some cultures, traditions and customs which only Zo people preciously keep and conserve. At the same time, this fact makes Zo generations superior to all other tribes who claim to be Zo descendants. This practice can only be found in Zo generations.
There are 12 categories of Zo cultures and customs: (1) Ton, (2) Ton and Han, (3) Ton and Taang Aih, (4) Taang Aih, (5) Kimulvu (6) Khuodo (Khal leh Ginua Khuado) (7) Sielkhup (8) Si Vailhak (9) Si Cieng Aa Diel Khaina (10) Mo Laakna (11) Ai Sanna (12) Nau Aaitahna Zo Traditional Ballads. There are 18 categories of Zo major traditional ballads / songs: (1) Lapi (2) Laguui (3) Si La (Gaal La, Sa La, Simai La) (4) Si Pusuoh La (5) Daak La (6) Lampisuh La (7) Taang La (8) Lamkiil La (9) Sawlnei La (10) Lakawi (11) Latawm' (12) Tomun La (13) Tuivai La (14) Loma La / Lakap (15) Tuibuong / Phaaisat La (16) Haaidawi La (17) Sim La (18) Zawl La / Lataang Zo Dances. There are also 10 categories of Zo traditional dances: (1) Khaw Khai Dance (2) Saipi Khupsu Dance (3) Phiit Lam (4) Doldeng Dance (Daak lam)(5) Daai Lam (6) Khuongtung Dance (7) Khangtung Dance (8) Lumsui Dance (9) Lamguui Dance (10) Phiit kengpaih Dance.
All the stories or folktales such as the stories of Thanghou leh Liandou, KhupChing leh NgamBawm, GalNgam leh Hangsai, Khalvompu and Neino leh Naltal that are very widely popular throughout the North Western part of Chin state and other parts of the world where Zo people reside were originally written and spoken in pure Zo dialect.
The first Zomi-language movie to receive a full-length theatrical debut was a 2021 English-Zomi bilingual film, written and directed by Burmese refugee Thang Mung, called Thorn in the Center of the Heart. The film first premiered in Michigan, where Mung was resettled by U.S. refugee services as a teenager.