Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
More than 13,000 Tai Nyo live in central Laos. Their main location is within the Pakkading District of Borikhamxai Province, where they are spread out over almost the entire district. The Tai Nyo spill over into the Pakxan and Borikhan districts of Borikhamxai, and also the Hinboun District of Khammouan Province.
An unspecified number of Tai Nyo also live among the Thai Isan people in northeastern Thailand. Although no figure has been estimated, it is believed there are many Tai Nyo living in Thailand.
Although they maintain a separate ethnicity, the Tai Nyo speak a language similar to Phutai. When people from the two groups meet, they are able to communicate with each other without too many problems except some different pronunciation and a few different words. Because of these similarities, the Tai Nyo were counted as part of the Phutai ethnic group in the 1995 Lao census.
Many Tai Nyo live along the Mekong River, which they fish from. The Mekong is the 12th longest river in the world (the 10th largest in terms of volume). Until recently, there was not a single bridge crossing the Mekong into Laos. The Thai-Lao Friendship bridge, constructed with the help of the Australian government, was opened in late 1993. Recently, plans have been announced to build the first dam on the Mekong in Laos. This dam will flood at least 609 square kilometers (238 square miles) of land, and will require some 43,000 people to relocate their homes.
The Tai Nyo believe in many spirits and gods. Buddhism has made little impact on them, despite the fact they have lived alongside the Lao for a considerable time. Some of the major spirits worshipped by the Tai Nyo include the spirit of the rice, water, forest, village and trees. They also worship the spirit of heaven, as do the Phutai.
There are a small number of known Tai Nyo Christians on both sides of the Lao-Thai border. They usually meet in Lao churches in Laos, or Isan churches in Thailand.
When no Tai Nyo Scriptures exist Phutai and Lao material could be used.
* Pray the Gospel would spread from the Tai Nyo believers to those who remain trapped in spirit worship.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Tai Nyo.
* Fervently intercede so that all Tai Nyo would soon receive a Gospel witness, and many would trust in Jesus Christ.