Nyahon in Laos

Joshua Project has identified the Nyahon only in Laos






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

More than 5,000 members of the Nyahon ethnic group inhabit 30 villages in southern Laos, primarily on the eastern part of the Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province. Others are found in neighboring Attapu and Xekong provinces. Despite their relatively close proximity to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, there is no evidence of Nyahon people living outside of Laos.

The Nyahon live on the Bolaven plateau at a low altitude but are classified as Lao Theung (300-900m) simply because they are a Mon-Khmer group. The Nyahon used to wear their own style of traditional clothing, but they lost this custom at least three generations ago. Today the Nyahon wear normal Lao clothing.

Although in many respects Nyahon society is matriarchal, inheritance rights are divided equally between sons and daughters.

Pre-marital sex is not only allowed in Nyahon communities, but is actually encouraged. 'Flower' houses are set aside for young people to spend the night together. After marriage, the husband must live with his wife's family.

Animism has a strong hold on the Nyahon. Almost every decision is arrived at only after consulting the wishes of the spirits. The Nyahon believe each person has seven different souls. They especially revere a spirit called Brrah. Other spirits of nature include the spirit of trees, water, rice-field, thunder and mountains.

Shamans, or spirit priests, conduct regular ceremonies where they make sacrifices and offer up prayers to protective spirits. Offended spirits are identified by a ritual involving rice and the organs of a chicken. Special ceremonies are held in the event of a natural disaster or epidemic.

The Nyahon are a completely unreached and unevangelized people group. There is not even a single known Christian in their midst. The best immediate hope for the evangelization of the Nyahon may rest with believers from recent people movement to Christ that have occurred among several tribal groups in northern Cambodia.

Prayer Points

* The Nyahon have been separated from the Gospel throughout their history. Pray many would soon hear.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Nyahon.
* In prayer, disarm the principalities that have prevented the Nyahon from hearing and believing the Gospel.

Profile Source:   Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Nyahon
People Name in Country Nyahon
Population in Laos 4,900
World Population 4,900
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Gyahon, Hoen, Nha Heun, Nia, Niahon, Nyaheun, Nyahon
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Nyahon
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 19027
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 28  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Champasak, Attapu, and Xekong provinces, Pakxong, Bachiangchareunsouk, Xaisettha, and Laman districts..   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nyaheun (4,900)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nyaheun 4,900
For Primary Language: Nyaheun

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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