Kuan in Laos

Joshua Project has identified the Kuan only in Laos







Largest Religion

Main Language


Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway

Introduction / History

More than 2,500 people belonging to the Kuan ethnic group (also known as Tai Kouane) live in the Viangthong District of Borikhamxai Province in central Laos. The Kuan live near the banks of the Mouan River.

The Kuan, who are a Tai-speaking group, should not be mistaken for the Khuen-a Mon-Khmer speaking group in northern Laos. The Kuan see themselves as distinct from all other people groups in Laos.

Although traditionally the Kuan were animists, there is a growing Buddhist influence being put on them by the Lao and other Buddhist communities in the area. The Kuan have absorbed many Buddhist rituals into their religious ceremonies, while keeping their ancient animism intact.

It could be noted that Buddhism was never able to fully replace animism in Laos, but rather has been absorbed into animistic practices that go back to the beginning of history in Laos.

According to one Christian missionary, the history of Buddhism in Laos dates back to around the fifth century AD, when "there came missionaries from Ceylon [Sri Lanka] into the Laos provinces bearing with them the sacred scriptures of the Buddhists. We might say that these missionaries were very successful, for they were not persecuted or stoned, nor killed, and they had the reward of seeing the people by villages and towns embracing their teachings. How different was the reception and spread of this religion from the true religion which the white-faced missionaries brought fourteen centuries afterwards! The secret lay in the fact that Buddhism was not exclusive while Christianity was; Buddhism allowed its adherents to retain their old system of spirit-worship, while Christianity said, Ye cannot serve two masters. Buddhism simply supplemented the existent faith, adding hereto a moral code and a clerical literature, while Christianity insisted, first, put off the old man with his deeds.... And so Buddhism flourished and became the nominal religion of the land, save of a few hill tribes here and there. But the old religion brought down with the Tais from the valley of the Yangtsi still lived and ruled men's hearts."

Reports indicate there are no known Christians among the Kuan in Laos.

Prayer Points

* Pray the Kingdom of God would triumph over both animism and Buddhism among the Kuan people.
* Ask God to burden the hearts of the Kuan to know the Truth.
* Pray the Kuan would soon believe in Him who said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Submit a new profile or correction

Submit an update
Country Laos
Continent Asia
Region Southeast Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country Borikhamxai province, Viangthong district
Submit an update
People Name General Kuan
People Name in Country Kuan
ROP3 Code 114142
Joshua Project People ID 18527
Indigenous Yes
Population in Laos 3,480
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group Khouen, Khuen, Khween, Kuanhua, Kween, Tai Kouane, Tai Kouanne,
Submit an update
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kuan 3,476
Submit an update
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Kuan
Ethnic Code AUG03z
Submit an update
Largest Religion Ethnic Religions
0.00%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
Other / Small
Christian Segments
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Get Involved
Register ministry activity for this group

Copyright © 2014 Joshua Project. A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.