This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.


Kadazan Dusun people
Mamasok / Momogun
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 Kadazandusun are the largest native group of Bumiputra in Sabah. They are also known as "Momogun" or "Mamasok", which means "originals" or "indigenous people", respectively. Most of the Kadazan-Dusun tribes believed they are descendants of Nunuk Ragang people.


Unlike the term "Kadazan," which mean "people of the land" ("Kadayan" in Dusun and "Kadazan" in the Tangara or Tangaa'/Coastal Kadazan language), the term Dusun is exonym. "Dusun" in Malay mean "orchad." Probably the term was used by the Brunei to refer the forest-dweller, farming primitive tribes in the interior of northern Borneo and continued by the North Borneo Chatered Company and British colonial governments. Before that the unintegrated Dusun tribes used many different name after their place of origin, ancestor, river or as what their neighbouring tribes called them.

The "Kadazan" term are popular among the Tangara/Tangaa' tribe in the west coast of Sabah to refer all the native Sabahan tribes while non-Tangara tribes in the interior and eastern part of the state prefer the term "Dusun". By 1960s, the first Chief Minister of North Borneo, Donald Stephens used the term "Kadazan" as the official assignation of the non-Muslim natives, sparking opposition from the Dusun side. This hot-debated identity crisis slowly settled down after the two side agreed to use the term "Kadazan-Dusun" or "Kadazandusun" in 1989.

The designation of the term "Kadazan-Dusun" or "Kadazandusun" was 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.

The Orang Sungai or Paitanic group welcomed this resolution, however, the Rungus tribe refused to be called neither as Kadazan, Dusun or any combination of the two. They prefer to be called "Momogun," which mean "indigineous people" in Kadazan, Dusun and Rungus because the three group belong to the same language family that is Dusunic. Meanwhile, the Muruts also refused the term, but remain their warm relationship with KDCA and responded positively in ways to unite the two largest Sabahan native groups. Nowadays, the umbrella term "KDMR" (acronym for Kadazan, Dusun, Murut and Rungus) is very popular among the younger generations of the three native group in Sabah to differ themselves from the Malay or Muslim Bumiputra in the state. Another modification of this term are "Momogun KDMR" in Kadazan-Dusun and Rungus or "Mamagun KDMR" in Murut.


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. In practice this religion was momolianism i.e. the two-way communication between the unseen spirit world and the seen material world facilitated by the services of a category of Kadazan-Dusun people called Bobohizans/Bobolians. The Kadazan belief system centres around the spirit or entity called Bambarayon. 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

The 2014 Kaamatan celebration in Penampang, Sabah with the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) being represented by their Deputy President, Clarance Bongkos Malakun on the far left.

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

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 unification term and collective name for more than 40 sub-tribes who are the native speaker of Dusunic languages and some non-Dusunic speaking tribes who called themselves as Dusun or Kadazan. However, all of them belong to the Sabahan-stock of Austronesian people.


Kadazan-Dusuns sub-tribes classified according to which branch their languages or dialects belong to in Dusunic language family. In this case, every branches are concentrated in specific geographic region.

(A) Central Dusun Group: Dusun Liwan (the largest sub-tribe), Dusun Tuhawon , Dusun Tindal , Dusun Bundu, Dusun Sinulihan, Dusun Tagahas, , Dusun Talantang, Dusun Tinagas, and many more smaller sub-tribes like Bira, Pahu, Gana, Polupuh, Kohub, Lobou and Monsok (Tambunan Bundu and Liwan mixture sub-tribes), Togudong, Randagong, Karanaan, Tolinting (Ranau Liwan's variants), Magatang (Keningau Liwan variant), Inobong (Penampang Liwan variant), and others.

(B) Other Dusunic-speaking groups : Dusun Kwijau, Dusun Lotud or Tagas(Hill Lotud), and Dusun Tatana.

(C) Northern Dusun Group (Dusuns who reside in the northern part of Sabah in Kota Belud, Kota Marudu and Pitas): Dusun Kimaragang, Dusun Tobilung, Dusun Sandayoh, Dusun Sonsogon, Dusun Gobukon, and Dusun Garo.

(D) Kadazan/Tangara/Tangaa' Group : Penampang Kadazan, Papar Kadazan, Membakut Kadazan, and Klias River Kadazan.

(E) Momogun Rungus Group : Central Rungus (consist of many sub-dialect and clans like Kirangavan, Pilapazan, Nuluw, Gandahon, Tupak and others), and Rungus Gonsomon.

(F) Eastern Dusun Group (also known as Labuk-Kinabatangan Kadazandusun) : Dusun Mangkaak, Dusun Kunatong, Dusun Malapi, Dusun Sogilitan, Dusun Sukang, Dusun Tindakon, Dusun Dumpas, Dusun Pingas, Dusun Tompulung, Dusun Tanggal, Dusun Tilan-Ilan, Dusun Sangau, Dusun Tandaa, Dusun Kirulu, Dusun Turavid, Dusun Lolobuon, Dusun Kisayap, Dusun Kivulu, Dusun Kisoko, Dusun Kiruli, Dusun Minokok Tompizes, Dusun Lamag and others.

(G) Ida'anic-speaking Dusuns : Dusun Subpan, Dusun Sagamo, Dusun Begak, Buludupi Dusuns, and Segaliud Dusuns.

(H) Paitanic-speaking Dusuns (Orang Sungai) : Tombonuo, Lingkabau, Tampias Lobu, Lanas Lobu, Rumanau, Sinabu, Kolobuan, Sinarupa, and Makiang.

(I) Murutic-speaking Dusun : Dusun Gana.

(J) Other non-Dusunic Dusuns : Dusun Bonggi (Banggi Islands) and Bajau Bukit/Dusun Papar (Christian Bajau Sama in Papar).

(K) Bruneian Dusun : Dusun Tutung (this group speak Bisaya language, reside in Tutong District, Brunei Darussalam and majority of them embraced Christianity).

Kadazan-Dusun Languages

Most of the Kadazan and Dusun languages belong to Dusunic languages family. Dusun Lotud, Dusun Tatana and Bruneian Dusun Tutung came from Bisayic-branch of the language group. Dusun Bonggi and Idaanic Dusun tribes speaks non-Dusunic languages families, that is Northeast Sabahan language and Idaanic language respectively. The Paitanic Dusuns speaks Paitanic languages and the combination of this language family with the Dusunic form the Greater Dusunic languages group. Dusun Gana speaks a Dusunised Murutic language. All Dusunic languages now are mutually-intelligible but they can't intelligibly conversing with Paitanic, Bonggi, Idaanic, and vice-versa. While all the three latter language families are not intelligible to each others. The Dusunic languages branches are Central Dusun, Ulu Sugut Dusun (Talantang-Tinagas), Northern Dusun (Rungus-Kimaragang-Tobilung) Coastal Kadazan, and Eastern Dusun. Bisayic and Kwijau are the Dusunic languages sub-family. The largest number and widely distributed speakers of any Kadazan-Dusun languages is the Liwanic dialect.

Under the efforts of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association Sabah, the standardized Kadazan-Dusun language is of the central Bundu-Liwan dialect spoken in Bundu and Liwan (now parts of the present-day districts of Ranau, Tambunan and Keningau). Dusun Bundu-liwan's selection was based on it being the most mutually intelligible, when conversing with other Dusun or Kadazan dialect.

Notable Kadazan-Dusun people

  • Arthur Joseph Kurup, deputy president for United Sabah People's Party and current member of parliament for Pensiangan.
  • Bernard Giluk Dompok, current Malaysian Ambassador to the Vatican, former Chief Minister of Sabah and former federal minister.
  • Clarence E. Mansul, former Deputy Minister of Malaysia and former member of parliament for Penampang.
  • Darell Leiking, current member of parliament for Penampang.
  • Ewon Benedick, current member of Sabah State Executive Council.
  • Ewon Ebin, former federal minister of Malaysia.
  • Fuad Stephens, former Chief Minister of Sabah.
  • Jeffrey Kitingan, current member of Malaysian Parliament for Keningau and state assemblyman for Bingkor.
  • Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, current member of the Malaysian Parliament for Kota Belud (half Bajau maternal ancestry).
  • Jonathan Yasin, current member of parliament for Ranau.
  • Joseph Kurup, former federal minister of Malaysia.
  • Joseph Pairin Kitingan, former Chief Minister of Sabah.
  • Maximus Ongkili, former federal minister of Malaysia.
  • Peter Anthony, current member of Sabah State Executive Council.
  • Richard Malanjum, 9th Chief Justice of Malaysia and the 4th Chief Judge of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak.
  • Ronald Kiandee, former deputy speaker for the Dewan Rakyat and current member of parliament for Beluran.
  • Wilfred Madius Tangau, former federal minister of Sabah and current Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah.

See also


  1. ^ a b "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (PDF) (in Malay and English). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. p. 107. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  2. ^ Assessment for Kadazans in Malaysia Archived 22 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Dr Elizabeth Koepping, Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, Edinburgh Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Voices of the Earth
  5. ^ More Foreigners In Brunei Embrace Islam Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Malay ultras diluted Borneo autonomy
  7. ^ Jennifer Lindsay (2003). Babel Or Behemoth: Language Trends in Asia. NUS Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-981-04-9075-1.
  8. ^ []

External links