Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
A 1981 study listed 6,000 speakers of the Khlor ethnic group in Laos. They inhabit areas within the Laongam District and possibly the Khongxedon District of Saravan Province in southern Laos. Most Khlor live in ethnically-mixed villages with families from other tribes.
The Khlor have possibly been officially included as part of the Ngae ethnic group in the 1995 Lao census. The Khlor language does appear to be closely related to, or a dialect of Ngae, but the two groups maintain a different ethnicity and have different cultural practices.
The Khlor have gradually lost their culture over the course of the past century. They have not practiced their traditional dances or used their ancient swords and shields for about 50 years.
Shamans are still used today by the Khlor to mediate between the community and the spirits in time of great need. In the past the influence of shamans was far greater, but today they still have a lot of respect in the eyes of the Khlor people.
Author Grant Evans explains that even politicians in Laos are afraid of the influence shamans, or spirit mediums, have over people... "Female nang tiam, and male moh cham, through their possession of spirits (sometimes from the historical past), represented uncontrollable forces within a political structure aiming at total social control. Mediums, of course, act as conduits for the social and cultural concerns of the people around them and therefore, through the words of the spirits, can express dissatisfaction and discontent. There were obviously fears that the spirit of dead kings or recently dead RLG [Royal Lao Government] politicians could come to life in these ceremonies to, for example, predict the coming demise of the regime."
To placate their fears, Communist officials have tried to stamp out spirit worship among many of the groups in Laos. Khlor shamans once presided over the annual buffalo sacrifice ceremony, which was the focal point of the year to the Khlor. This too appears to have been discontinued.
There are a small number of Christian believers among the Khlor, the fruit of pre-1975 missions work by OMF.
* Pray that the Kingdom of God would come in its full power among the Khlor people of southern Laos.
* Ask God to bless and strengthen the few known Khlor believers.
* Pray they will follow Christ rather than worshiping spirits and sacrificing animals to them.