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Mlabri in Laos


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Mlabri in Laos map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
600 Mlabri Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Mlabri in Laos

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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.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.
* Pray for Gospel messages to become available in audio format for this people group.

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Country: Laos
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:20 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Xaignabouri province, phiang district
(Source: Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Mlabri
People Name General: Mlabri
Alternate People Names:
Ma KuMla
MrabriPhi Tong Luang
Toong LuangYellow Leaf
ROP3 Code: 106686
Joshua Project People ID: 13749
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 600
Population all Countries: 1,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
People Name General: Mlabri
Ethnic Code: AUG03z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Mlabri (600 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mra    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions100.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 0   No evangelical Christians or churches. No access to major evangelical print, audio, visual, or human resources
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Mlabri in Laos

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Mon-Khmer     Asia, Southeast    
      Mlabri Laos    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Mlabri in Laos          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Mlabri  
    All Religions                              

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