The Tribes of Burma/Marus Lashis Szis
The Marus, Lashis and Szis
The route taken by the Marus, Lashis and Szis or Atsis from their primaeval seats has been indicated in a previous portion of this note, The N'maikha valley is still the home of the northernmost members of these three tribes, and it may be presumed that they, with the Kiutzes or Khunnongs and the ancestors of the Burmans originally descended into the N'maikha ceuntry from the headwaters of the Sal ween, and are connected through the Lutzes of the Salween-N'maikha watershed with the Lisus or Lisaws of the Sal ween. The three tribes (Marus, Lashis and Szis) are all closely related to one another and speak vernaculars that have obviously the same origin as Burmese. The Marus appear to be the most numerous and most widely distributed of the three, They have spread down into the Northern Shan States in the south and, so far as has as yet been ascertained, the Nanwu Marus extend in the north far further up the N'maikha than the Lashis and Szis. The Szis, who lie for the most part to the south of the Lashis, have been more assimilated into the pure Kachin population than the Lashis and Marus, and many of them have been looked upon in the past as belonging to the Lepai tribe. The Lashi country proper appears to lie south of the Nanwu Maru country near the lower reaches of the N'maikha, but like the Marus and Szis the Lashis are found here and there in the Myitkyina District. It is hard to form an idea of the strength of the tribes. Many of them live just beyond the administrative frontier and of those within the administered area the great bulk were in 1901 inhabitants of the estimated areas where no race returns were given. Within the regularly enumerated areas there were at the time of the 1901 Census only 149 Marus, 40 Lashis and 317 Szis. Here, however, it is probable that a good many persons who actually were members of the three tribes were returned as Kachins. Indeed there is now very little outward difference between them and the Chingpaws. The principal authorities on the Marus, Lashis and Szis are quoted at page 76, Up till now Captain Pottinger has had more opportunity of studying the -Northern Marus in their homes than any other person.