Chatong in Laos

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Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Chatong
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 800
World Population: 800
Primary Language: Ta'oih, Lower
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Southeast Asian, other
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

We know very little about the Chatong tribe of southern Laos. Laurent Chazee, the French author of the ethnographic book Atlas des Ethnies et des Sous-Ethnies du Laos, briefly mentions the Chatong as having "less than 1,000 people" with 47 living in the Karum District of Xekong Province. No other sources mention the Chatong, although it appears they may be a subgroup of the Tong, who live to the west in Saravan Province.

If the Chatong are a subgroup of the Tong, then they speak a language belonging to the Katuic branch of the Mon-Khmer family. Chazee, however, did not list the Chatong in his Mon-Khmer section, but included them in his "Other Groups" section.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Chatong area is near the Vietnam border, in remote mountains. Because of the almost complete lack of roads, few tourists have ever ventured into this part of Laos. "It's also a very poor province in which nearly a quarter of all children die before the age of five. The worst poverty and health problems occur between the Xekong River and the Vietnamese border".

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Chatong have been animists for centuries, continuing to worship a host of spirits without interruption from the outside world. In Laos today, even professing Buddhists continue to seek the guidance of the spirits in matters that may benefit them. For example, thousands of people visit mediums in an effort to divine "lucky numbers" which could help them win the lottery.

What Are Their Needs?

The Chatong need to trade their faith in lucky numbers and the spirit world for a relationship with Jesus Christ, who alone can bless them far beyond what they can imagine.

Prayer Points

Pray Christian health workers could gain access to the Chatong area and make a difference in their lives.

Ask God to pierce the darkness of life in Xekong with his wonderful light.

Pray the power of superstition and greed would be broken over people in Laos, and many would turn to God.

Text Source:   Joshua Project