Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
Approximately 500 to 600 Khmu Keun live in a few villages in the Tonpheung District of Bokeo Province in northwest Laos. The Khmu Keun's location is near the Golden Triangle, where the countries of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet. It is not known if there are any Khmu Keun living outside of Laos.
The Khmu Keun are one of the smallest of six distinct tribes of Khmu in Laos, who together numbered more than 500,000 people in the 1995 census. Other communities of Khmu are scattered as far away as China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.
The Khmu Keun are not the same ethnic group as the similarly-named Khuen, Tai Kouanne or Kuan.
The Khmu are recognized as the original inhabitants of Laos. When the Lao people migrated into the area from China at least 1,000 years ago, they pushed the Khmu off the plains and into the mountains.... "Though not Buddhists, the Khmu are entrusted with the Prabang (a statue of Buddha) during the Lao New Year's celebration. The Prabang was brought to Laos when the first Lao chief came to the country from Cambodia. Thus, though the Lao Buddhists are dominant in Laos and no longer follow animistic rituals, they recognize the fact that the Khmu tribe preceded them in the country by including them in their New Year's celebration."
There are no known Christians among the Khmu Keun. Living at the western extremity of Khmu territory in Laos, they have yet to be impacted by the revival among the Khmu further east.
The Khmu Keun are not considered resistant to the Gospel, they have simply yet to hear it for the first time in their history.
Missionaries have found the various tribes of Khmu to be extremely fertile soil for God's Word. When Daniel McGilvary visited another Khmu area in 1897, he reported, "I found some thirty Khamus just arrived.... He was delighted to get the book; but I was like a miner who has found a new gold mine.... A new vision seemed to open before me of work among that interesting tribe.... Here was a Khamu scholar. Might he not have been raised up for this very purpose?"
* Generations of Khmu Keun have perished while they waited for Christians to come. Pray their wait will end.
* Pray for a strong church to emerge among the Khmu Keun.
* Pray the Khmu Keun would become a jewel in the crown of Jesus Christ, who died that they might live.