Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
The 1995 national census of Laos listed 786 Sedang people, living in two communities in the Sanxai and Phouvong districts of Attapu Province. The Sedang live in the extreme southeast corner of Laos, near the juncture of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The great majority of Sedang (more than 100,000) live in Vietnam, primarily in Kon Tum Province. In Laos, the Sedang language is related to Halang and Halang Doan, but each of these three groups has a separate ethnic name and lives in a different area.
A communal house is located in the middle of each Sedang village. All social activities revolve around it. On its roof are two sharp objects that resemble large sails or axe-heads. Animal horns are also placed on the corners of the roofs. The communal houses are built entirely with the wood of trees that grow in the area.
In the past, the Sedang fruquently made human sacrifices to demons. A visitor in the 1890's recorded, "When they build a communal house they place a living slave, usually a prisoner of war, into the hole into which the main column will be driven."
Some of the Sedang claim to have a legend of a great flood long ago that destroyed the earth's inhabitants. Only one brother and sister survived. They say that the Creator God caused the flood because He was upset at the increase of wickedness and debauchery among humans.
Catholic mission work among the Sedang in Vietnam dates back to the 1850's. The godly witness of the Catholic workers won many Sedang to Christ. In 1891, it was written of Father Guerlach, "His face, full of refinement and energy, expresses openness and captivates one at first sight. His manners are those of a true soldier of Christ, tempered by a great gentleness.... One may encounter him, on hills and roads, with a rifle in one hand, the Bible in the other, going to any place where there is a soul to be saved.... When he arrives in a village, the faces of the savages light up, children come running and all happily greet him."
Today the Sedang in Laos do not know this Supreme Being. There are some 5,000 Sedang believers in Vietnam, but none among the Sedang in Laos.
* Pray the small number of Sedang Christians in Vietnam would find a way to reach their cousins in Laos.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Sedang.
* Pray many Sedang would listen to the Sedang-language Gospel broadcasts aired by FEBC.