The word bru literally means "mountain." They probably gave this name to them regarding their geographical location. Their villages are typically along the banks of rivers or streams.
The ancestors of the Eastern Brao were part of the great Khmer Empire that flourished from the 9th century to the 13th century. The empire, which encompassed present-day Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and parts of Vietnam, declined after the Thai and Vietnamese invasions. The center of the Cambodian Kingdom, known as Angkor, was in the Boloven region, where there are ruins dating from the 8th to the 12th centuries.
The Bru of Laos live along the borders of Thailand, while the Eastern Bru live along the borders of Vietnam. Though the two groups speak the same language (Bru), their dialects are not mutually understood. The dialects may even vary within the same village. Bru belongs to the Katuic branch of the Mon-Khmer language family. Some of the Bru are bilingual, speaking both their own language and Lao.
Today, most of the Eastern Brao are rice farmers who use the slash and burn method of cultivation. Since much of the area is covered with brush and tall grass, they first clear the plots by burning off the vegetation. Then they grow crops on it for three or four years before moving to new territory. Their principal crop is dry rice, but cassava, sweet potatoes, and bananas are also major products. Fishing provides a reliable source of protein.
Besides farming, the Eastern Brao gather many products from the forest to sell or trade. There are vast bamboo groves throughout the area, and the forests contain a variety of hardwoods such as wild date, mahogany, teak, and rosewood, as well as berry, bean, and rubber trees. For additional income, the Eastern Brao may also engage in crafts such as pottery.
Most of the Eastern Bru have adopted the Laotian way of life. For instance, their clothes, culture, and social organization are much like the Laotians. Only a few special characteristics remain, such as the traditional white scarf that the Bru women wear over their hair. Today, the Laotian government supplies the Bru with textiles, clothing, blankets, mosquito nets, and other necessities.
Because of internal conflict, the Eastern Brao live in large, fortified villages during the dry season. Each village is an independent unit governed by a village elder or headman. The headman oversees the affairs of the community, judges disputes and decides important issues. Although the Eastern Brao people are citizens of Laos, most of them have no viable representation in the government.
Within the village, they arranged huts in a circular pattern, with a large community house at the center and the villagers’ huts arranged around it like the spokes of a wheel. During times of peace, the large villages split into five to ten smaller villages and occupy makeshift shelters, tilling their fields until the harvest season arrives.
Eastern Brao society is patriarchal (male dominated), and the eldest male directs family leadership. Polygyny (having multiple wives) is a common practice.
Virtually all the Eastern Bru are ethnic religionists, practicing their own traditional religion. Ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors for prosperity, guidance and protection) is the most important activity. Each clan has a common location where they offer the dead uncooked rice, water and broken bowls. If not appeased, these ancestral spirits cause illnesses. The Eastern Bru also believe in various spirits of nature and that each village has a particular "guardian spirit." They placate forest and mountain spirits for good harvests and protection.
The Eastern Brao land still needs to be cleared from landmines dropped during the Vietnam War 50 years ago. These still can kill people who are hoeing a rice field.
* Scripture Prayers for the Bru, Eastern in Laos.
Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Eastern Brao people for Jesus and that in God’s sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Eastern Brao families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Eastern Brao people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
Pray for the lives and culture of the Eastern Brao people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|People Name General||Bru, Eastern|
|People Name in Country||Bru, Eastern|
|Natural Name||Eastern Bru|
|Population this Country||23,000|
|Population all Countries||116,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Alternate Names||Bru Van Kieu; Bru-Vân Kiều; Eastern Bru; Galler|
|Persecution Rank||26 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Location in Country||East Savannahkhet Province, Sepone district; southeast Khammouan Province, Boulapha district. Source: Ethnologue 2016|
Primary Language: Bru, Eastern
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1981-2009)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Bru, Eastern|
|Film / Video||LUMO film of Gospels|
|General||Gospel resources links|
|Mobile App||Download audio Bible app as APK file|
|Text / Printed Matter||Bible: Bru, Eastern|
|Primary Religion:||Ethnic Religions|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 1.50 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|