Pala in Laos

Joshua Project has identified the Pala only in Laos
Largest Religion
Main Language
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

According to Laurent Chazee, 4,000 Pala people inhabit 26 villages in northern Laos. Fourteen Pala villages are located within the Mai District of Phongsali Province, with an additional 12 villages in Koua District.

The Pala live in a mountainous area near the Oma, a group they share some cultural and linguistic similarities with. The Pala are an isolated group, living at an altitude of between 800-1500 meters (2,600-4,920 feet) above sea-level. The Pala are considered relatively closed to new ideas and development. They mostly trade with the Lao and the Khmu. On occasions they venture down to the market in Koua where they buy and barter for products they need.

The Lao government does not count the Pala as a distinct ethnic group. It is probable they were officially counted as part of the Akha in the 1995 census, even though the Pala have a different autonym and language from other Akha groups in Laos.

Pala women wear traditional clothing which is produced in their village. These days, they mostly wear their traditional clothes on festival days, or when they go to the market. Decorations of coins and aluminum are added to give a striking appearance. The women also adorn themselves with embroidered aprons, vests, trousers and turbans. Both men's and women's everyday clothing are made of simple blue indigo cloth.

Animism and ancestor worship are the dominant religious beliefs among the Pala. Every home has a sacred ancestral altar, where rituals and offerings are made at appointed times. Numerous spirits and deities are also worshipped by the Pala. Every June, after the rice harvest has been planted, a ceremony called Tgelapeu is held to honor the spirits of the village and the harvest. Other religious ceremonies are held whenever there is a birth, death, or wedding among the Pala. A spirit-priest is called upon to officiate. He acts as a mediator between the Pala and the spirits, taking the people's requests and prayers to the realm of the spirits.

The Pala are completely unreached by the Gospel. Few have ever heard of Jesus Christ. Possibly the only Christian community in southern Phongsali is among the Khmu. They may represent the best opportunity for the Pala to hear.

Prayer Points

* Ask God to send Khmu Christians to share Christ with the Pala. Pray for smooth communication.
* Pray the Holy Spirit would draw many Pala to Himself.
* Pray the Lord would put a desire to seek the Truth in the hearts of many Pala people in Laos.

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

People Name General Pala
People Name in Country Pala
Population in Laos 5,500
World Population 5,500
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Progress Scale 1
Alternate Names Bola, Bula, Laku, Pela, Pola, Polo
People ID 10770
ROP3 Code 115323
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Phongsali and Luang Namtha provinces.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Phongsali and Luang Namtha provinces..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language: Akha (5,500 speakers)   (People group listing)
Language Code: ahk   Ethnologue Listing
Written: Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages: 1
Primary Language: Akha (5,500 speakers)   People group listing
Language Code: ahk   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Primary Language: Akha

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1939-1991)
New Testament Yes   (1968-1987)
Complete Bible Yes   (2001)
Audio Bible Online
Possible Print Bibles
Forum of Bible Agencies
Gospel Go
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Akha
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
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
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission  
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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