Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
French ethnographer Laurent Chazee listed a 1995 population of 20,000 Khmu Lu people in Laos. They are concentrated in the western part of Oudomxai Province (Xay and Namo districts), and the adjoining eastern part of Luang Namtha Province (Nale District). A small Diaspora community of Khmu Lu live in the Houayxay District of Bokeo Province.
The Khmu Lu prefer to live in forests at the base of mountains. Their homes are constructed near a river or stream so that they can easily access water. Most of their villages are situated 400-800 meters (1,310-2,620 feet) above sea-level.
The homes of the Khmu Lu are rectangular in shape. At the left-center of the entrance to the house is the family's ancestral altar.
The language of the Khmu Lu is part of the Mon-Khmer family. Although the Khmu Lu have different dress, customs and traditions from the Khmu Ou, people from the two groups speak the same language and can communicate without difficulty. The Khmu Lu, however, cannot understand the Khmu Keun, Rok or Me languages.
Animism is the predominant religion among the Khmu Lu. Among a host of different spirits they worship are the spirits of the house, forest, parents, fire and water. Healing ceremonies are held during times of hardship or sickness. Chickens and pigs are sacrificed to placate any angry spirits that may be causing the distress.
The Khmu do not like the spirits, but worship them out of fear. One missionary who visited them in 1902 wrote, "We found that the report had gone throughout all the Kamu country...that some of the Kamu in the region of M. Sai had cast off spirits and accepted Christ, and yet the spirits had not bitten them. Instead of engendering opposition, in the majority of places we visited we found that this report had begotten hope and a desire for the same freedom from the yoke of the spirits. Many heathen Kamu told us that in their opinion the spirits do not benefit them; they only burden them...whole villages told us that if we will come next year early enough in the season to teach them any length of time, they will enter Christianity en masse." Most Khmu Lu are still waiting to be set free.
* Pray the Khmu Lu would soon be freed from their chains of fear and slavery to demons.
* Ask God to give eternal life to thousands of Khmu Lu.
* Pray the Khmu Lu would soon have the opportunity to embrace Christ. Most have yet to hear the Gospel.