Tai He in Laos

Joshua Project has identified the Tai He only in Laos






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Approximately 9,000 Tai He live in Borikhamxai Province in central Laos. They are concentrated in the Viangthong and Khamkeut districts, while smaller numbers of Tai He inhabit the Pakkading and Pakxan districts.

Despite the fact the Tai He view themselves as a distinct people group, they have never appeared before in most mission or ethno-linguistic lists from Laos. Laurent Chazee, the French ethnographer, did list them as one of his 119 ethnic groups in Laos.

The Tai He practice a mixture of Buddhism and animism. Since 1975, the Communist authorities have slowly attempted to control Buddhist monks and exert authority over radical elements. Some Buddhist spokesmen have been favored because of their support for the government.

In 1975, outspoken Buddhist monk Maha Khamtan Thepbouali said, "We hold that the country and Buddhism cannot be separated.. Therefore, since Lao society is changing favorably, it is certain that Buddhist monks and novices will undergo changes.. We will try our utmost to stamp out the vestiges of the old society and build a new, pure and bright one. In the religious sphere it is necessary to correct many mistakes such as Buddhist textbooks which do not conform with the principles of Buddhism-textbooks compiled by capitalism and feudalism to hoodwink the people."

Later, Thepbouali wrote, "I wish to clarify to all whether Buddhism and revolution are in contradiction to one another? There are some people who have always said that it is not right for the Sangha to engage in revolutionary activities because the Sangha does not engage in politics. These people have not read their history of Buddhism! And also they do not understand what the Sangha is, or for that matter, revolution. The truth is that the Sangha and revolution are not in contradiction, even though they do not separate basic assumptions.. Revolution does not only mean the use of weapons. Struggle over ways of thinking is also revolution, struggle inside oneself over the right way of thinking and the wrong way is also a revolution."

There are no churches or known Christians among the unreached Tai He.

Prayer Points

* Pray they will look to Christ rather than following after Buddhism and worshiping spirits.
* Ask God to open the hearts of the Tai He to the Gospel.
* Pray the Tai He would soon receive an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and decide if they will follow Him.

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

People Name General Tai He
People Name in Country Tai He
Population in Laos 12,000
World Population 12,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names He
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Tai
People Name General Tai He
Ethnic Code MSY49z
People ID 15189
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 They live in Borikhamxai Province in central Laos. They are concentrated in the Viangthong and Khamkeut districts, while smaller numbers inhabit the Pakkading and Pakxan districts..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Language Unknown (12,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Language Unknown 12,000
For Primary Language: Language Unknown

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
60.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
40.00 %
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
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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