Sapuan in Laos

Joshua Project has identified the Sapuan only in Laos






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Sapuan ethnic group live in the northern part of the Xaisetta District of Attapu Province in southern Laos.

The population of the Sapuan is difficult to gauge. While Wurm and Hattori (1981) gave their population as 2,400, Laurent Chazee (1995) stated there was only one village of Sapuan people in Attapu. In Laos, villages are usually very small, and rarely contain more than several hundred people as a maximum.

The Sapuan may also be located in northern Cambodia. A group named Tampuan lives there. It is not known if the Sapuan and Tampuan are related, or if their similar names are coincidental. The Tampuan in Cambodia now include a number of Christians.

Attapu Province has a reputation for being the most remote and cut-off part of Laos. During the rainy season, most of Attapu cannot be reached by road. Attapu has been described as "rugged, wild, scenic and difficult to get around.... Tigers aren't uncommon, and there's rumored to be either Javan or Sumatran rhino near the Cambodian border. A recently-discovered trout-like fish grows to 10 kg (22 pounds) in the Xe Kong, and the Irrawaddy dolphin makes an occasional appearance in this river and the adjoining Xe Kaman.

The Sapuan language is part of the Western Bahnaric branch of Mon-Khmer. It is most closely related to the Oy and Jeng languages.

The Sapuan are animists. Even though spirit worship has been officially banned in Laos, it is openly adhered to. Thirty-two guardian spirits known as khwan are bound to a guest of honor by white strings tied around the wrists. Each of the 32 khwan are thought to be guardians over different organs, mental and physical, in the person's body. Animists believe khwan can occasionally wander away from the owner's body, causing the person to fall sick. A ceremony is performed to call them back, upon which the person regains their health or their sanity.

Although there are no known Christian believers among the Sapuan in Laos, a Gospel recording has been produced in the Sapuan language. In many places in this part of the country, the Gospel has yet to make an appearance.

Prayer Points

* Pray the new believers among tribal groups in Cambodia will cross the border and evangelize southern Laos.
* Ask God to being godly Christians across the path of the Sapuan.
* Pray the Sapuan would have a burden to find the True God, and would not feel peace until they find Him.

Profile Source:   Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Sapuan
People Name in Country Sapuan
Population in Laos 5,400
World Population 5,400
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Sapoin, Sapouan
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Sapuan
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 14758
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 28  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Attapu province, Xaisetta district.   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Sapuan (5,400)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Sapuan 5,400
For Primary Language: Sapuan

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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