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Si La people

"Si La" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Si La, Iran.
Si La
Regions with significant populations
23x15px Vietnam 709 (2009)[1]
23x15px Laos
Sila, Vietnamese, Lao, others
Traditional religion/ancestor worship, Buddhism, Christianity

The Si La (also Sila) are an ethnic group of about 1,800 people living in northern Laos and another 600 living in Lai Châu Province, Northwest region, Vietnam.


The Si La people speak a Tibeto-Burman language closely related to Hani (Edmondson 2002). Their primary occupation is the cultivation of cereals, augmented by hunting and foraging. One of the most distinctive Si La customs is tooth painting: men traditionally painted their teeth red, while women painted theirs black. The custom is increasingly uncommon among the younger generation.


  1. "The 2009 Vietnam Population and Housing Census: Completed Results". General Statistics Office of Vietnam: Central Population and Housing Census Steering Committee. June 2010. p. 135. Retrieved 26 November 2013.