Tonga, Ten'edn in Thailand

Tonga, Ten'edn
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Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Tonga, Ten'edn
Country: Thailand
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 400
World Population: 600
Primary Language: Ten'edn
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.00 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Tonga is the language of the Mani people of Thailand. They are the only Negrito people in that country; they look more like Africans than Asians. They have lived in what is Thailand for thousands of years. They prefer the name "Mani" which simply means, "jungle dwellers."
The Mani people live in the Manung district of Thailand's Satun Province. Half that many live in neighboring Malaysia. The Tonga are also known as the Ten'edn.

What Are Their Lives Like?

This is one of the few remaining hunting and gathering societies of Thailand. Because they live off the land through simple hunting and foraging for wild fruits, roots, and vegetables, they have a very small population. Clothes that are not brought to them from the outside are made of banana leaves and other natural materials. The Tonga live in huts made of bamboo poles with banana leaves for roofing.
Today things are changing rapidly for the Tonga people. Other people groups are encroaching on their land and hunting their wild animals with guns. The Tonga people cannot compete with outsiders for limited resources.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The primary religion practiced by the Tonga people is ethnic religion. Ethnic religion is deeply rooted in a people's ethnic identity and conversion essentially equates to cultural assimilation.
They cremate their dead and ask the spirit of the deceased to not follow them home. They do not bury their dead because someone might walk over the place where the corpse is buried, which would be a sin.

What Are Their Needs?

It is only a matter of time before this people group is forced to live in the 21st century, and if they are not prepared for it, they will be taken advantage of or even destroyed as a people. Believers can teach them valuable marketable skills, so they don't wind up as beggars or prostitutes.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to send his people to help the Tonga adjust to upcoming changes.
Pray for justice and mercy to prevail as the Tonga people encounter modern society.
Pray for them to learn the ways of Jesus and use them to help them to flourish in the years to come.
Pray for a Tonga church that will be defined by discipleship and obedience to the teachings of Jesus.

Text Source:   Joshua Project