Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
According to a 1985 source, there were 2,164 Puoc people living in northern Laos. They primarily inhabit villages along the Et River in the Xiangkho District of Houaphan Province.
Strangely, the Puoc were counted as a distinct ethnic group in the 1985 Lao census, but were not listed in the 1995 census. It is likely they have been incorporated into the Pong ethnic group.
The majority of Puoc, more than 11,000, live in neighboring areas of Vietnam. In Vietnam the Puoc are officially known as the Xinh Mun. Despite their similar-sounding names, the Xinh Mun are not related to the Singmoon ethnic group in Laos, who live near the Thai border.
Puoc communities are often mixed with the Tai Dam. Puoc women also wear clothing and headdresses similar to the Tai Dam. They wear a short vest that has a row of silver buttons carefully made in the shape of butterfly wings.
Three generations of the same family living under the one roof is common among the Puoc. Their homes are separated into two main sections. One section called the plang is reserved for single men or guests of the family. It also contains the altar for worshiping spirits. The second part, called the xia is the main section where the family sleeps, cooks and eats.
The two main family names among the Puoc are Vi and Lo. Each lineage shares a certain animal that is sacred to them.
Puoc women are in the habit of chewing betel-nut, which stains their teeth black. Black teeth "are so highly esteemed that one never sees a white tooth save in the mouth of a very young child. Betel-chewing tends to darken the enamel and chut is carefully rubbed on to intensify the black, for it is a common saying, 'Any dog can have white teeth'."
The region inhabited by the Puoc on both sides of the Laos-Vietnam border has received very little Christian witness in the past. The nearest community of believers is probably near the city of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. None of the Puoc in Laos reportedly follow Christ.
* Pray the long-neglected area where the Puoc live would soon be saturated with the Gospel.
* Ask God to make the Puoc hungry to seek for the Truth.
* Pray the Puoc would have a godly remnant in their midst, as a witness to those who don't know Him.