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Kadazandusun people
Total population
Regions with significant populations
(Sabah, Labuan)
Dusun, Kadazan, English and Malaysian
Christianity (majority), Islam, Animism
Related ethnic groups
Dusun, Rungus, Kadazan, Orang Sungai , Murut, Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh

a Yearbook of Statistics: Sabah, 2002

Kadazan-Dusun (also written as Kadazandusun) is the term assigned to the unification of the classification of two indigenous peoples of Sabah, Malaysia—the ethnic groups Kadazan and Dusun.


The designation is recognised as the result of a resolution of the 5th Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) Delegates Conference held between 4 and 5 November 1989 (KCA was later renamed to KDCA - Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association). During the conference, it was decided that this was the best alternative approach to resolve the "Kadazan" or "Dusun" identity crisis that had impeded the growth and development of the Kadazan-Dusun multi-ethnic community socio-culturally, economically and politically—ever since Kadazanism versus Dusunism sentiments were politicised in the early 1960s.

This was the basis that led to the United Sabah Dusun Association (USDA) and the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) to resolve that the language to be taught in schools as the Pupils' Own Language (POL) shall be known as the Kadazandusun Language, based mainly on the Bundu-Liwan dialect and to be enriched by the other Kadazandusun dialects. In Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), a Kadazandusun Chair has been established to undertake deeper research into and documentation of the Kadazandusun's heritage and culture. The university also offers the Kadazandusun language as an elective language subject, and it is quite popular among foreign students.


Religions of Kadazandusuns[1]
Religion Percent
Folk religion / Other religions
No religion / Unknown

The majority of the Kadazandusuns are Christians, mainly Roman Catholics[2] and some Protestants.[3] Islam is also practised by a growing minority.[4][5][6]

The influence of the English-speaking missionaries in British North Borneo during the late 19th century, particularly the Catholic Mill Hill mission,[7] resulted in Christianity, in its Roman Catholic form, rising to prominence amongst Kadazans.[8] A minority are from other Christian denominations, such as Anglicanism and Borneo Evangelical Church.

Before the missionaries came, animism was the predominant religion. The Kadazan belief system centres around the spirit or entity called Kinorohingan. It revolved around the belief that spirits ruled over the planting and harvesting of rice, a profession that had been practised for generations. Special rituals would be performed before and after each harvest by a tribal priestess known as a Bobohizan.

Kadazandusun Cultural Association Sabah[edit]

A group of people visiting "The House of Skulls" at Monsopiad Cultural Village in Penampang (near Kota Kinabalu), Sabah, Malaysia.

The Kadazandusun Cultural Association Sabah (KDCA), previously known as Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA), is a non-political association of 40 indigenous ethnic communities of Sabah, registered under the Malaysian Societies Act 1966, on 29 April 1966 by the then Deputy Registrar of Societies Malaysia, J. P. Rutherford. It is headed by Huguan Siou Honorable Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

The title "Huguan Siou" Office is an institutionalised Paramount Leadership of the Koisaan. The power and responsibility to bestow the Kadazandusun Paramount Leadership Title "Huguan Siou" rests with the KDCA, which, upon the vacancy of the Huguan Siou's Office, may hold an Extraordinary Delegate's Conference to specifically resolve the installation of their Huguan Siou.

However, if no leader is considered worthy of the Huguan Siou's title, the office would rather be left vacant (out of respect for the highly dignified and nearly sacred office of the Kadazandusun's Huguan Siou), until such time as a deserving Kadazandusun leader is undoubtedly established.

The birth of the Society of Kadazan Penampang in 1953 paved the way for the formation of the Kadazan Cultural Association Sabah (KCA) in 1963, which in turn was transformed into the present KDCA on 25 September 1991.

From its inception in the early 1950s, the KDCA has focused much of its efforts on the preservation, development, enrichment and promotion of the Kadazandusun multi-ethnic cultures. The KDCA's Triennial Delegates Conference provides a forum where the various Kadazandusun multi-ethnic representatives discuss major issues affecting them and their future and take up both individual and collective stands and actions to resolve common challenges.

The KDCA is involved in various activities related to research and documentation, preservation, development and promotions of the Kadazandusun culture: language and literary works; Bobolians & Rinaits; traditional medicine, traditional food and beverages; music, songs, dances and dramas; traditional arts, crafts and designs; traditional sports; traditional wears and costumes. Lately, along with the growing international co-operation of the world's indigenous peoples, indigenous knowledge, intellectual property and traditional resource rights conservation, enhancement and protection have also become new areas of the KDCA's concern and responsibility. The KDCA fosters unity, friendship and co-operation among the multi-racial population of Sabah through its participatory cultural programs and celebrations such as the Village, District and State levels Annual "Kaamatan Festival". It has sent Cultural Performance Troupes on goodwill tours to other Malaysian States, to neighbouring Asian Countries, to Europe, America, Canada and New Zealand.

KDCA has a youth and students' wing, Kadazandusun Youth Development Movement (KDYDM). The movement's main aims are to encourage more participation of the young generation in the activities of the association and be empowered in various fields so that they would be able to help develop the Kadazandusun community in general.

Kadazandusun sub-ethnic groups[edit]

Traditional rice wine been served by using bamboo as a drink cup in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. This is part of the Kadazandusun cuisine.

Kadazandusun is the collective name for more than 40 sub-ethnic groups which can be divided to three main groups: the Kadazandusun, Murut and Orang Sungai.

Kadazandusun group: Central Dusun (Bundu-Liwan-Tagahas of Ranau, Tambunan and Keningau that is the largest Dusun subgroup. Dusun Tindal of Kota Belud and Tangaa of Penampang and Papar).

Kimaragang Dusun (Tobilung, Tagas, Talantang/Tandek/Maragang, Sandayoh, Sonsogon, Sukang and Tagaro). Kadazan/Tangara/Tangaa' (Kadazandusun Penampang, Kadazandusun Papar). Kadazandusun of Klias that is Tatana, Tutung and Kadazan of Membakut and Bisaya. Dusun Lotud of Tuaran, Langkon (Kota Marudu) and Pitas, Dusun Kwijau/Kuriyou/Kuyau of Ulu Monsok and Bingkor Keningau, Dusun Gana of Bingkor Keningau, Dusun Bonggi of Pulau Banggi Kudat, Dusun Minokok of Ulu Kinabatangan, Dusun Mangkaak/kunatong of Beluran, Dusun Pingas of Ulu Kinabatangan.

Murut group: Tagol, Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh, Timugon, Paluan, Keningau Murut, Baukan, Tenggara of Ulu Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Lun Dayeh, and Serundung Murut in Southern Sabah. Okolod, Selungai and Tidung in North Kalimantan.

Orang Sungai group: Abai Sungai of Kuala Abai, Kinabatangan, Sungoi Sungai of Beluran Sandakan, Tombonuo, Lingkabau, Dumpas, Dusun Ulu Kinabatangan (Rumanau/Tampias Lobu, Lanas Lobu, Lobu, Makiang, Kolobuan, Sinobu and Malapi).

The Kadazandusun ethnic group make up 1/3 of 3.2 million Sabah's population. 600,000 are the Central Dusun.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]