Introduction / History
The 1995 Laos census reported more than 23,000 Talieng people living in southeastern Laos. They are concentrated in remote mountainous areas of Xekong and Attapu provinces, near the border with Vietnam.191 In Laos the Talieng often live in mixed villages with the Ngae, Alak and Katu ethnic groups. In the past, the Talieng lived entirely in the Dakchung District on the Vietnam border, but since 1984 they have gradually migrated further westward in search for new land. The construction of the Dakchung Highway in 1990 has further opened up the Talieng to the rest of Laos.
Many Talieng, however, remain in extremely isolated communities at least 1,500m (4,920 feet) above sea-level. They have little or no interaction with other groups. Because of this, the Talieng are one of the few remaining groups in southern Laos who still have their own customs and traditional dress.
The Talieng are one of the subgroups that make up the official Gie Trieng minority group in Vietnam, who numbered more than 30,000 in 1998.192 Talieng means 'headhunters'.
In the past, polygamy was common among the ruling class, but now most families are monogamous. Tobacco and alcohol is consumed in massive quantities by the Talieng. During festivals Talieng people of all ages are seen laying around the village in a completely drunken state. Talieng from different clans are strictly forbidden from living in the same house.
The youngest child of each Talieng family is responsible for taking care of his or her parents and for worshiping the ancestors. In the 3rd lunar month of every year the Talieng hold a 7-day ceremony where prayer is held for all Talieng ancestors. Buffaloes are sacrificed in front of the communal village house.
The Talieng construct houses for the spirits and deities they believe can protect and bless them. Few have ever heard of the God who conquered demons and hell forever.
There are a number of Talieng Christians in Vietnam, but the massive mountains and political restrictions between Vietnam and Laos have prevented the Gospel from spreading across the border.
* Pray the Talieng Christians in Vietnam would find a way to take the Gospel to their relatives in Laos.
* Pray there would soon be a strong church among the Talieng of Laos.
* Wrestle in prayer against the powerful spirits and witchcraft that keep the Talieng in spiritual chains.