Tai Kaleun in Thailand

Tai Kaleun
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Tai Kaleun
Country: Thailand
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 9,000
World Population: 12,400
Primary Language: Thai, Northeastern
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tai
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Even though the Tai Kaleun view themselves as a distinct ethnicity, their language is considered only a dialect of Lao and not a separate variety. In Thailand, the Tai Kaleun have been listed merely as a dialect group of Thai Isan.

Tai Kaleun people live in central Laos. The majority are located in the Khamkeut District of Borikhamxai Province. A small, geographically separated number of Tai Kaleun have moved to the Nakay District of Khammouan Province. In addition, Tai Kaleun are located in Thailand, although it is very difficult there to distinguish them from the Isan. Why or when the Tai Kaleun migrated to Thailand is uncertain. Most of them are in Thailand today.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Tai Kaleun practice a mixture of Theravada Buddhism and animism. Unlike most parts of Buddhist Southeast Asia, the Tai Kaleun have major differences between two sects of Buddhism. Maha Canla, a Buddhist monk from the Lao Thammayut sect, wrote. "In Laos the division was very wide. It was if neither sect recognized the other as made up of Lao people. They were completely distinct from each other and were always trying to get the better of each other. The entire Lao population was divided on the same basis, so that a young man who was an adherent of the Mahanikai could on no account marry a young woman who was an adherent of Thammayut, because their parents would not allow it. The trouble was the political left was aware of this weak point and they managed, by inciting the two sides and spreading evil rumors, to make the gap wider and wider."

What Are Their Beliefs?

Over the course of many centuries, while the two Buddhist sects in Laos struggled for supremacy, the Tai Kaleun have waited to hear the gospel for the first time. Today, they are still waiting.

What Are Their Needs?

Pray the Tai Kaleun would soon receive a powerful and culturally-relevant presentation of the gospel, leading to an unstoppable movement to Christ.

Ask God to thrust forth laborers into this harvest field.

Pray Lao Christians would be motivated to take the gospel to the linguistically similar Tai Kaleun people.

Prayer Points

Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

Text Source:   Joshua Project