Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
More than 12,000 Ngae (pronounced "Ng-ehh") people live in the three provinces of Xekong, Saravan and Champasak in southern Laos. They inhabit 25 ethnically-mixed villages. Their communities are shared with other people from the Suay, Lao, Alak, Lavae and Tai Oi ethnic groups.
According to one source, the Ngae are called by the derogatory name Kha Koh ('mountain people') by outsiders, but they call themselves Nkriang.
The Ngae language is part of the East Katuic branch of the Mon-Khmer language family. It is closest to the Alak and Khlor languages. They can also understand Katu.
Ngae infants are forbidden to leave the house after birth until a buffalo has been sacrificed. The youngest child of a Ngae family is required to live with his or her parents for life. In many Ngae villages all people smoke tobacco from the age of 8 and older. In the past, the Ngae celebrated ceremonies with the use of traditional shields and swords, but this custom has not been practiced in most places for 50 years.
In Attapu Province the Ngae live in wild, rugged locations. Parts of Attapu are cut off from the rest of Laos for much of the rainy season. Tigers are still common in the area and there is rumored to still be a few rhinos near the Cambodian border. Attapu has little Lao influence, as demonstrated by the fact there are only 14 Buddhist temples in the entire province.
Shamans are still prevalent among the Ngae today. The shaman performs sacrifices in front of the communal spirit house, and oversees all contact between the Ngae people and the spirit world. Rice and eggs are offered to placate evil spirits. For seven days in April the Ngae worship their ancestors.
The Ngae are one of the most Christian groups in southern Laos today. There are at least 600 known believers among them, meeting in more than seven churches.
Before the advent of Communism in 1975, there was much missionary work among the Ngae. A leprosy mission was operated by OMF, which ministered God's love to hundreds of lepers.
* Thank God for the 600 Ngae Christians. Pray they would follow God with all their hearts.
* Pray the Gospel would also spread to all animistic Ngae people.
* Ask God to raise up Ngae evangelists to carry His Word to the unreached Mon-Khmer groups in southern Laos.