Introduction / History
The 1995 national census of Laos listed a population of 1,344 Nguon people. The precise location of the Nguon is uncertain. According to the Language Atlas of the Pacific Area, they live directly on the Laos-Vietnam border in the Nakay District of Khammouan Province. The same book lists a total population of 2,000 Nguon in both Laos and Vietnam. The Ethnologue states the Nguon live in "west-central Laos, south of Bai Dinh."
The Nguon language is believed to be closely related to the large Muong language of Vietnam. The Muong, numbering 914,596 people in the 1989 Vietnam census, are the third largest ethnic minority in Vietnam. The majority of Muong in Vietnam live further north of the location given for the Nguon in Laos, however. The Nguon may have originally been a group of Muong who split off and migrated to a different area. Nguon is possibly a transliteration of Muong.
The Muong are believed to have come from the same historical roots as the Vietnamese people. Today the Muong language and Vietnamese are still closely related. "It is believed when the Chinese invaded Vietnam at around the start of the Christian era, the Vietnamese migrated southward into the plains. They expanded to fill all the country, while the Muong stayed in the mountains and developed as a separate ethnic group."
Nguon villages are called quei. Large rocks or markers are placed along the borders of the village to clearly define borders between families and clans.
In the past the Nguon faced constant threat from tigers and bears, but today few of these beasts remain. The Nguon even allow their livestock to roam about freely in the woods without fear of them being slaughtered. Village leaders, called lang cun, control Nguon villages. No major decision is made by the community without the agreement of the lang cun.
The majority of Nguon are animists. They worship a host of gods, deities and spirits, who they believe can bless and protect their communities. There are a few Catholics among the Muong in Vietnam, but there are no known Christians among the Nguon.
* Little is known about the location and identity of the Nguon. Pray that more information would soon come to light.
* Pray there would soon be a strong church among the Nguon of Laos.
* Pray that Christians of other ethnic backgrounds would have a burden to take the Gospel to the Nguon.