Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
The 1995 Lao census listed 95,440 Katang people in Laos, making them the sixth largest official ethnic group in the country.
The Katang are dispersed over a wide-spread area of southern Laos. The majority live in the Atsaphangthong, Thapangthong, Xanbouri, Phin, Songkhon and Champon districts of Savannakhet Province; the Khongxedon, Ta-Oy, Toumian, Saravan, Laongam and Vapi districts of Saravan Province. Some live in the Xanasom-boun and Pakxong districts of Champasak Province.
In some of the more remote locations, the Katang live in houses made of braided leaves. In recent decades, however, many Katang have moved down from the hills onto the plains, where they have lost much of their cultural heritage and are on the way to assimilation to Lao culture and language.
Some aspects of Katang culture that are presently under threat includes the traditional Katang longhouse. For centuries extended families of Katang have lived under one roof. When they married, the house would be extended to accommodate the new couple and any children they would later have. At Tumlan Village, 40 km north of Saravan township, tourists can still visit a 100 meter (328 feet) long longhouse, which contains thirty different families. Traditional Katang textiles, which feature numerous narrow bands of colors and patterns, are also produced there and sold to the Western and Asian tourists who pass through the area.
The Katang, both men and women, have for centuries stretched their earlobes and inserted large bamboo tubes in for decoration. This too, is rarely seen among young Katang today.
Although most Katang have absolutely no awareness of the Gospel or the claims of Jesus Christ, there is one Katang church in Laos, with approximately 100 known believers. They have faced great opposition from local authorities, shamans and community leaders, who believe the presence of the Christians will bring a curse on the village from the spirits they have worshipped for countless generations. Most Katang are too bound by fear to consider converting to Christianity.
* Pray for a clear presentation of the gospel truth.
* Ask God to bless and anoint the small Katang church in Laos.
* Pray the Holy Spirit would convict the Katang of sin, righteousness and judgment, that many would find Christ.