Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
Approximately 35,000 Khmu Me live in parts of three provinces in northern Laos. The majority live in Luang Prabang Province, with smaller numbers in Xaignabouri and Bokeo provinces.
The Khmu Me share many of their villages with the Khmu Ou, even though the cultures and customs of the two groups are quite diverse. Several Khmu groups are now separated by different languages or dialects because they have lived apart for a long period of time. This includes the Khmu Ou, Khmu Lu, Kouene and Khmu Rok. They may be able to understand each other, but not without encountering great difficulty.
Although the Khmu Me are a patrilineal group, men move into their wife's parents house for several years after marriage. After this time they are allowed to move out and start their own home.
The Khmu believe in a hierarchy of spirits called hrooi. The most important hrooi are spirits associated with the guardianship of house and village. Non-Khmu are not allowed to attend hrooi ceremonies.
Many Khmu believe the human body contains between 30 to 300 different souls... "even rice is believed to have several different spirits, which are ceremonially bound to the rice during an annual suu khwan khao-a special ritual for rice."
In addition to animism, a growing number of Khmu Me have put their trust in Jesus Christ in recent years. Daniel McGilvary, a missionary based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was the first known person to take the Gospel to the Khmu in the late 19th century. He found the Khmu "ripe for harvest." On one trip he reported, "We passed many Khamu villages in this portion of our route. Most of them would welcome a missionary, and seemed ripe for the Gospel.... I took down the names of their villages, and promised if possible to visit them next year-which they all begged me to do. That apparently casual meeting seemed to me a loud call. Come over and help us! And it led to a most interesting work, which was stopped only at the command of the French.... It seems almost inconceivable that a European nation should forbid missionary work among its people."
* Pray numerous Khmu Me would press in to meekly inherit the Kingdom of God.
* Ask God to make the Khmu Me His chosen vessels of honor.
* Pray the Khmu Me would be mightily used of God to evangelize many other unreached people groups in Laos.