Mlabri in Laos


Population
600
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Ironically, the smallest ethnic group in Laos happens to be one of the most interesting. Twenty-two Mlabri people, in four families, live in the Phiang District of Xaignabouri Province. Their numbers are actually down from 24 in 1985. Epidemics and a decrease of their resources has almost wiped them out. Approximately 300 Mlabri live across the border in Nan and Phrae provinces of Thailand.

Mlabri or Mabri is the self-name of this group. The Lao and Thai call them Kha Tong Luang, which means 'slaves of the Yellow Banana Leaves'. This name is given to them because of their custom of living in temporary ground-level shelters made of a wooden frame and covered with banana leaves. When the leaves wither and turn yellow the Mlabri abandon their homes and move to a different area to hunt for food. This cycle usually repeats itself every 5-15 days.

There is another group of about 300 people called Kha Tong Luang in Laos, who practice the same customs. They live in remote mountains on the Laos-Vietnam border. The Mlabri and this later group are not linguistically related, and are separated by a considerable distance. To complicate matters, the Pakatan in Laos are also labeled Kha Tong Luang by the Lao.

Mlabri men wear little clothing, except a small loin-cloth. "They are animists who believe they are not entitled to cultivate the land for themselves. Their matrilineal social organization allows serial monogamy; a Mlabri woman typically changes mates every five or six years, taking any children from the previous union with her."

After death, the corpse of a Mlabri is placed in the treetops to be devoured by birds.

The Mlabri religion is one of primitive polytheism. They believe evil spirits inhabit trees, and fear rainbows, which they believe are monsters who devour human flesh.

There has never been a known Christian among the Mlabri in either Laos or Thailand. Eugene and Mary Long, missionaries with New Tribes Mission, have worked selflessly among the Mlabri for more than 20 years in Thailand. Even though they are deeply loved by the Mlabri, none have yet made a decision to follow Christ.


Prayer Points

* Pray God would help the Mlabri break through the barriers that prevent them from following Christ.
* Ask God to bless and multiply the work of New Tribes Mission among the Mlabri in Thailand.


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

People Name General Mlabri
People Name in Country Mlabri
Population in Laos 600
World Population 700
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Progress Scale 1
GSEC 0  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Ma Ku, Mla, Mrabri, Phi Tong Luang, Toong Luang, Yellow Leaf, Yumbr, Yumbri
People ID 13749
ROP3 Code 106686
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 24  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Xaignabouri province, phiang district   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 24  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Xaignabouri province, phiang district.   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Primary Language Mlabri (600 speakers)
Language Code mra   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Mlabri
Primary Language Mlabri (600 speakers)
Language Code mra   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Mlabri

Primary Language:  Mlabri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Type Resource Name
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
Unknown
Independent
Unknown
Orthodox
Unknown
Other Christian
Unknown
Protestant
Unknown
Roman Catholic
Unknown
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2017  Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  All rights reserved.  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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