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The Social Structure of Kadazandusun

The majority of the Kadazandusuns are Christians, mainly Roman Catholics and some
Protestants. Islam is also practised by a growing minority. The influence of the English-speaking
missionaries in British North Borneo during the late 19th century, particularly the Catholic Mill Hill
mission, resulted in Christianity, in its Roman Catholic form, rising to prominence amongst Kadazans.
A minority of them are from other Christian denomination, such as Anglicanism and Borneo
Evangelical Church. Before the missionaries came into scene 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.

The Kadazan community consists of many groups or tribes, namely the Tengaah of
Penampang-Papar, the Liwan of Ranau-Tambunan, the Kuijau of Keningau, the Lotud of Tuaran, and
the Kemaragang of Kota Marudu-Tandek. the Runggus of Matunggong, the Bongi of Pulau Banggi
Kudat, the Idaan or Tindal of Kota Belud, the Bisaya of Beaufort, the Sungai of Kinabatangan and not
to forget the Tatana of Kuala Penyu. There are many more sub-tribes such as the Buludupis and the
Dumpaas of Beluran and many more. These are the people who fall under the Kadazan category but
today they are generally referred to as Kadazandusuns. This new terminology (Kadazandusun) had
been accepted by many to refer to the same speech community and to avoid further
misunderstanding among the community. The term Kadazandusun however is not yet accepted as
the official name for the same speech community in Sabah. Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Herman J.
Luping wrote in his KSS Inauguration and Installation Souvenir message at the function held on 27th
January 2007. The Formation of the Society of Kadazan and its objectives in 1953. When the British
Colonial Government started identifying and defining the various natives of North Borneo, the off
springs of those female Kadazan people who were married to non-natives were identified as Sino-
Kadazan, and were accorded with the Native status by virtue of the Government Legislation.
Erstwhile, they were not recognized then as natives of North Borneo per se until the British
Government had made the legislation to include them as natives. This was made possible through
the initiative of the Society of Kadazan. The Society of Kadazan was registered on 24th August 1953
and was led by Mr. Lee Kim Cheong as its first President and Mr. Richard Yap as its Secretary, while
O.T. Tinoi from Kg. Tuavon was appointed as the Patron. Both Lee and Richard were Sino-Kadazan
and whose mothers were pure Kadazan. The main objectives of the Society were, among others, to
get the Sino-Kadazan or Sino-Dusun to be accorded with the native status and the privileges as
enjoyed by the Kadazan; to have the Kadazan Harvest Festival declared as a public holiday and the
elevation of the Kadazan standard of living. These objectives were achieved through the Society. In
consequence thereof, the colonial Government introduced the Native Certificates which were issued
to the Sinos in recognition of them as kadazans, thus natives of North Borneo henceforth. This
recognition of Sinos as having native status was further manifested by the appointment of a Sino-
Kadazan in the person of Fedelis Tan Ping Hing as the first Native Chief in the Native Court of
Penampang District. At the Societys AGM in 1957, Donald Stephens who was interested to join the
Society was welcomed by its President, Mr. Lee Kim Chuan. Donald Stephen was elected as the
President at the Societys AGM the following year. It was a joint effort between Donald Stephens
and OKK Sodomon Gunsanad from Keningau who fought hard to gain the vital recognition of the
Kadazan Harvest Festival. Through them, the Kadazan Harvest Festival now known as Pesta
Kaamatan was recognized and declared as a public holiday by the Colonial Government since 1960.
After having achieved its main objectives, and due to the advent of politics heralding the pre-
independence of North Borneo through the formation of Malaysia, the Society of Kadazan gradually
became dormant from its active societal commitment from 1960. Henceforth, the Kadazan Harvest
Festival celebration was organized by ad-hoc committee in various kampong levels. It was only in
1964 that a cultural body was registered under the Kadazan Cultural Association with Fred Sinidol as
its first Chairman. The main objective of this Association was to promote Kadazan cultures, in
particular the organization of the Annual Kadazan Harvest Festival, now known as Pesta Kaamatan
or Kaamatan. The Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) has been renamed as KadazanDusun
Cultural Association (KDCA) since 1989. The Registration and Launching of the Kadazan Society
Sabah (KSS). The Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) was registered on 19th May 2006 and was officially
inaugurated on 27th January 2007 at the Hotel Pacific Sutra. Its first President, Marcel Leiking was
honourably installed by Datuk Sikodol Maludang, a respected Kadazan Elder from Penampang, in
accordance with Article 4 of the approved aims and objectives of the Kadazan Society Constitution,
that is, to assist with greater effort to develop and preserve the traditions; customs; culture;
economy and language of the Kadazans. Datuk Sikodol Maludang is one of the exceptional,
prominent and dedicated Government Civil Servant who retired as the Director of Agriculture
Department in 1977 and is already 88 years old. Datuk Seri Dr. Herman Luping viewed the
registration and launching of the KSS as a revival of the Society of Kadazan established in 1953. In his
message in the KSS Inaugural and Installation Souvenir Book, Datuk Seri Dr. Herman Luping wrote
[...] the formation of the present Kadazan Society Sabah headed by Marcel Leiking is not only timely
but should also be welcomed by all Kadazans. I believe that this new Kadazan Society is not meant to
challenge the well established KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA) but rather this new
association (KSS) should be viewed as both supplementary and complimentary to the established
KDCA. It is some time said by our detractors that the mantle of leadership of the KDCA had jumped
over the Crocker Range instead of the normal Pogun Savat leadersi.e the once powerful
Penampang Boys, but I am sure that present Penampang leaders do not lose any sleep over this
misplaced perception. And so, just as we accept the leadership of the present KDCA, particularly,
Huguan Siou Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, there is no reason why we should not
welcome and accept the leadership of the present Kadazan Society Sabah. He also hoped that the
new Kadazan Association (KSS) would grow from strength to strength. Datuk Seri Dr. Herman
further enlightened that ... various centres in Sabah, namely at Tawau, Sandakan, Lahad Datu and
Kudat formed Kadazan Associations in these areas. In Tawau, the Association was known as the
Tawau Kadazan Welfare Society and the people behind the formation of the Tawau Kadazan Society
were two brothers, Primus Sikayun and Bruno Sikayun. In Sandakan, a Kadazan Sandakan
Association was also established and three people were in the forefront in the formation of this
association namely Peter Andau, Gilbert Rajatin and Peter Tiwin. In Kudat, Datuk Joe Manjaji who
was then a Senior Police officer in the district spearheaded the formation of the Kudat Kadazan
Association assisted by Michael Wong (Fadzil). In Lahad Datu, two brothers from Kampung Dabak,
Penampang namely Lo Ah Pan and Anthony Loh Ah Kuan formed the Lahad Datu Kadazan
Association. Even in Brunei, there were also a lot of Kadazans working in Seria Brunei (Shell
Petroleum), and so an association was formed with Fidelis Jupining as the leader assisted by
Alphonsus Golinsu Lojiu; Francis Henty Lee and Thadeus Yong to mention a few, he added. In
reference to the various Kadazan Associations and Welfare Societies that sprung up after 1960,
Datuk Seri Herman wrote: [...] The formation of the Kadazan Association (KSS) in Penampang as
well as in the various centres mentioned above was a logical consequence of the feeling of the
Kadazan community about their community, their culture, their language and their heritage at the
time. They felt that it was necessary to group together to advance the community and when the
formation of Malaysia was proposed, it was also a logical consequence that leaders in these
associations were in the forefront to meet the new challenges and the new historical political
development in the State. Indeed, these leaders of the past were the pillars of the community and
they should be remembered for their contributions. From Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) to
KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA). Meanwhile, Datuk Dr. Clarence B. Malakun commented
that the registration and inauguration of the Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) was timely. He expressed
his sadness over the name of the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) changed to Kadazandusun
Cultural Association (KDCA) on 5th November 1989 during the KCA Delegates Conference. I went
along with the resolution at the time in the name of cooperation and unity amongst our beloved
people, he added. He further said that [...] little did we realise that at the stroke of the pen, the
Kadazans disappeared to become overnight the Kadazandusuns, whilst the Dusuns continued to
exist as a separate entity and with no change within the United Sabah Dusun Association (USDA). It
was, I believe, the understanding between the Presidents of KCA and USDA that the latter would
supposedly be disbanded once the word Dusun was included after changing the Association name
from Kadazan Cultural Association to KadazanDusun Cultural Association. The disbandment
was never materialised, and the USDA continued to exist to look after the affairs of its community,
whilst the Kadazan community was left without a community Association to look after its affairs and
its identity. The USDA was correct. The KCA was sacrificed, Datuk Clarence added. The majority of
the Kadazans were, and still are, under the impression that their affairs and identity are under the
purview of KDCA far from it! KDCA is mainly, among others, concentrating on the preservation of
Kadazan and Dusun cultures. Hence, the Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) was formed and registered a
society to preserve the identity and dignity of the Kadazan community. The emergence of the United
Sabah Dusun Association (USDA) in 1978 has caused a slight ethnical disparity between the Kadazans
and Dusuns. In order to amend the rift taking place, the President of KCA at the time took the
unenviable task of reuniting the Kadazans and Dusuns under one roof by amending the constitution
of KCA to Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association or KDCA to include the Dusun community under its
banner, hoping that the two ethnic groups of Kadazan and Dusun could be united under the
umbrella of KDCA and, at the same time, by calling them as Kadazandusun. Culturally, the objective
might have or has been achieved, but failed to unite ethnically under the conjoined name known as
"Kadazandusun". This term Kadazandusun is a misnomer because there is no such race as
"Kadazandusun". Such term has left out the other ethnic groups, i.e. the Muruts, Rungus, etc., and,
to my understanding, has therefore led the Authorities to classify us (the indigenous group of Sabah)
as under "lain-lain. The designation of KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA) took effect from
September 25, 1991 (source: Richard Tunggolou) and is now officially recognised as the result of
political machinations, specifically as a resolution of the supposedly non-political 5th Kadazan
Cultural Association (KCA) Delegates Conference held between November 4 and November 5, 1989.
During the conference, it was thought and hence decided - that this was the best alternative
approach to resolve the "Kadazan" or "Dusun" identity crisis that had crippled and impeded the
growth and development of the Kadazan-Dusun multi-ethnic community socio-culturally,
economically and politicallyever since Kadazanism versus Dusunism sentiments were politicised in
the early 1960's. The proposal made by the late Tun Fuad Stephens (Donald Stephens) during the
Kadazan National Congress held at the Jesselton Community Centre on 7.8.1961 in his attempt to
unite the various ethnic groups under one race called Kadazan, was adopted though not
unanimous. Despite this set back, Donald Stephens however made a declaration at the said Congress
when he announced to the delegates, From now on we shall be known as Kadazans. This historic
moment brought about a high degree of unity amongst the various ethnic groups under one race as
Kadazan both culturally as well as politically. The declaration made by Donald Stephens should
have been vigorously pursued by his successor as the Huguan Siou, the paramount leader of the
KadazanDusun, in the person of Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan since there was still a
minority of the ethnic group who did not wish to come under the banner of Kadazan then. But,
alas, he failed despite his earnest attempt to do so through the Kadazan Cultural Association or KCA
channel. His effort through KCA had however achieved a certain degree of success when all the
ethnical groups rallied behind him under the umbrella of KCA both culturally and politically. This was
evident during the PBS rule. The term Kadazandusun vs KadazanDusun. The term
KadazanDusun was purposely manipulated by certain irresponsible people by coining the word
Kadazandusun to mean it as a race. I have fiercely defended, and will continue to correct this
misnomer, that there is no such race as Kadazandusun. Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun (KSS
Trustee Chairman) has also correctly pointed out when he said: The term Kadazandusun is not an
indigenous ethnic race per se in Sabah. We should either be Kadazan or Dusun depending on ones
own preference. We should respect those who wish to be known as Dusun just as we expect others
to respect our preference to be known as Kadazan. KSS President Datuk Marcel Leiking has also
rightly said at the KSS Christmas and New Year Dinner function in Kota Kinabalu on 23rd December
2008 that: There are Kadazans in Sabah and there are Dusuns. If you are comfortable with Kadazan
or Dusun, so be it, but not Kadazandusun which is not an ethnic indigenous term (recognised) in
Sabah. Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia explains the difference. The term Kadazandusuns and
KadazanDusuns are two different terms as differentiated by the usage of the small vowel d in the
former and the capital D in the latter. The term KadazanDusuns are two indigenous tribes of
Kadazan and Dusun merged together, while the term Kadazandusun is a coined word - a term
expediently assigned to unify the two indigenous tribes for whatever reasons that does not denote
a race. According to Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Herman J. Luping, the term KadazanDusun however is
not yet accepted as the official name for the same speech community in Sabah. According to
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the term Kadazan-Dusun (also written as KadazanDusun) is the
term assigned to the unification of the classification of two indigenous tribes in Sabah, Malaysia
the ethnic groups of Kadazan and Dusun. The Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS), however, maintains its
stance that the term Kadazandusun is NOT an ethnic indigenous tribe to describe a race nor it is a
native found in Sabah.