Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
Approximately 450 Ruc people live in an extremely isolated part of Laos, along the Lao-Vietnam border in the Bouarapha District of Khammouan Province. The area is so remote that a species of deer, called saola, was only discovered by biologists in 1992 in the neighboring part of Vietnam. A saola was later captured on the Laos side of the border in 1996, enabling experts to study this previously unknown animal. Population estimates for the Ruc are hard to make, but one source in 1981 stated there were a total of only 500 Ruc people living in both Vietnam and Laos. Another source places the Ruc people in the "Vietnam border area, south of the May and north of the Sach."
The Ruc live in dense evergreen forested mountains at an altitude of around 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) above sea-level. The name Ruc means 'those who eat sago-palm flour'.
The Ruc are believed to have spoken their own dialect until recently, but now they speak a general Chut language, which serves as the lingua franca among the various tribes of Chut.
Because the Ruc do not know how to grow or weave cotton, they engage in trade with the Lao and Vietnamese for clothing. They also buy copper pots, axes and knives. In the summer, men wear only a simple loin-cloth, but in the winter they cover their torso with a kche- a poncho made from tree bark that is beaten into thin strips and sewn together.
If someone is bitten by a tiger, bear or snake the Ruc believe them to be cursed. They are not allowed to return to their village for two or three months. The person must live deep within the forest for this time and cannot be visited by friends or relatives.
Ancestor worship is not practiced in each Ruc home, as is the case with many tribes, but is only observed in the home of the village chief. The Ruc also believe in a hierarchy of spirits, of which the spirits of the earth, humans, animals and the forest are considered the most powerful.
There is no record of Christians ever having focused on the Ruc (or any of the other Chut groups) in Laos with the Gospel. They are completely unreached.
* Pray that God would raise up bold laborers to take the Gospel to the Ruc, and persevere until they are reached.
* Ask God to glorify His Name among the unique Ruc people.
* Pray the Ruc would hear the Gospel in a culturally-relevant manner, that they would not view Christ as foreign.