Introduction / History
More than 6,000 Laoseng people live in the northernmost province in Laos, Phongsali. They inhabit villages within the Samphan, Phongsali and Mai districts, near the Chinese border.
The Laoseng are also known as the Tareng, or Tariang. They are not related, however, to the Talieng people of southern Laos.
The Laoseng are a Mon-Khmer speaking group. Many Mon-Khmer groups in northern Laos have round drums with pictures of three frogs on the top. Usually pictures or carvings of two large elephants and one small elephant are on the side. What makes the Laoseng unique in northern Laos is that their language is from the Katuic branch of Mon-Khmer. The other Katuic groups are in southern and central Laos. It is possible the Laoseng were a group from southern Laos who were forcibly relocated to the north some time ago.
The Mon-Khmer groups in Laos, including the Laoseng, are recognized as the original inhabitants of the country by the Lao. This fact is confirmed by the inclusion of a Mon-Khmer leader in the pre-1975 New Year rituals performed in the royal capital, Luang Prabang.
In the annual ceremony, the King of Laos was approached by a Mon-Khmer leader (usually a Khmu from the local area). The King, "taking him by the hand.conducts him to his golden throne covered by its nine-tiered white umbrella. Thus are the rites carried out. It is the ancient possessors of the soil themselves who place the Chao Sivit, master of their existence, on the throne. Not only do they enthrone the successor of those who invaded their territory, but they must also rid him of all evil. The King takes a bowl of sticky rice similar to that used for warding off [spirits] and throws it over the chief of the Khas who then runs out of the room. He is followed by the other members of the tribe, he runs out of the palace, then out of the town and only stops when he is far away, in the mountains where he will have taken with him all the calamities which have menaced the King."
Thousands of years after the unique Laoseng people arrived in Laos, most have yet to hear the Gospel for the first time.
* Pray the little-known Laoseng people would soon have the chance to accept or reject Christ as Lord of their lives.
* Pray Khmu believers would travel to the Laoseng and witness to them.
* Ask God to raise up linguists to produce evangelistic material in the Laoseng language.
|Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted © Used with permission|