Katu, Eastern in Vietnam

Katu, Eastern
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Katu, Eastern
Country: Vietnam
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 75,000
World Population: 75,000
Primary Language: Katu, Eastern
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.59 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Katu people inhabit 40 villages in Laos along the Upper Xekong River and along the watershed of the Songboung River basin near the Vietnam border. In Laos the Katu inhabit areas within Xekong, Saravan, and Champasak provinces. It is very difficult to access many Katu villages because of the lack of roads in the area. In Vietnam, they are officially part of the Bru-Van Kieu minority group.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Katu live in long rectangular houses in the forests. Each Katu home contains between two to eight families. Their villages are often shared with the Alak, Ngae, Ta Oi and Talieng.

Katu women traditionally tattooed their faces, but this custom has been dying out in recent decades. The Katu tend towards monogamous families, but rich men and village leaders are allowed to have two or more wives.

The Katu are known for their annual buffalo-sacrifice ceremony. Buffaloes are killed as an offering to the spirits, and to call on them to protect and bless their communities. One visitor recounted the sacrificial ceremony: "During the ceremony, the men of the village don wooden masks, hoist spears and wooden shields, and dance around the buffaloes in the center of the circle formed by their houses. After a prescribed period of dancing, the men converge on the buffaloes and spear them to death. The meat is divided among the villagers and each household places a piece in a basket on a pole in front of their house as a spirit offering."

Weddings are very costly for the groom and his family. They are required to pay a dowry worth the equivalent of 15 buffaloes. If they are unable to pay, the groom must live with his wife's family after marriage and work the debt off.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Shamans (spirit priests) are also active among the Katu. They must be paid with chickens or silver for their services. They live in fear of the spirit world, unaware of the Savior who has defeated these same spirits.

What Are Their Needs?

Although the New Testament has been translated for the Katu in Vietnam, where there is a larger number of believers, only a handful of Katu are known to profess Christianity.

Prayer Points

Pray for a clear presentation of the gospel message leading to faith in the only Savior.

Ask God to send loving believers to the Katu people in Vietnam.

Pray a strong evangelizing church would soon emerge among the demon-fearing Katu of Vietnam.

Pray for the Lord to provide the Katu people an abundant harvest this season as a testimony of his power and love.

Text Source:   Joshua Project