Introduction / History
The Kadazan are an indigenous people who live in the northern portion of the island of Borneo in the nations of Malaysia and Brunei. They are also known as the Dusan or the Kadazandusun people. The Kadazan make about 20 ethnolinguistic groups within this cluster of peoples.
The lives of the Kadazan people of Brunei depend on whether they are urban or rural. The urban Kadazan enjoy the all benefits of modern civilization due to the wealth of Brunei. Brunei although of small country the about size of the US state of Delaware, it has rich deposits of oil and natural gas. The per capita income is nearly $40,000 a year. Educated Kadazan who live in the cities work as government officials, oil and natural gas workers and in private businesses. Rural Kadazan live a more traditional lifestyle of growing rice, sweet potatoes and catching fish. Others also work as laborers in the lumber industry.
They primary language of the Kadazan is Brunei Malay. Educated Kadazan also speak English.
Where are they located?
This Kadazan live in the cities and rural areas of Malaysia and Brunei on the island of Borneo.
What are their lives like?
The rural Kadazan peoples are primarily farmers with rice growing supplemented by vegetable gardening and animal husbandry. Many rural Kadazan have also found jobs in the lumber industry that has boomed in the last two decades. Village life is usually communal with families living in villages of 10 to 50 houses. Society is patriarchal with the father ruling over the lives of his wife and children.
Although many hold on to some aspects of their culture, the lifestyle of the Kadazan in the urban and developed areas is quite different from those in the remote rural areas. They live as people in wealthy, modern cities of Asia. They encourage their children to attend college and learn business skills that will enable to maintain a middle or upper class lifestyle. More and more rural Kadazan are leaving their villages for the benefits of the cities. The Kadazan have a rich tradition of dance and music.
What are their beliefs?
The Kadazan were traditionally animists but have been influenced by both Christianity and Islam. Many of those that the government counts as Christians come from a church tradition where any child that is born into a family that calls itself Christian is also considered to be Christian. Those holding to traditional religion today believe in a spirit world that is especially important in the cycle of rice cultivation as well as major events in the cycle of life. Although believing in a supreme being who created everything, they also attribute spirits to many things in nature such as birds, animals, and plants.
The "rice spirit", in particular, figures prominently in their beliefs and practices. Some of the Kadazan people groups are noted for their use of priestesses for controlling the spirits. The government of Brunei strongly encourages animists and Christians to become Muslims and offers financial inducements if they do.
What are their needs?
The Kadazan people need the opportunity to hear about and embrace the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Evangelism is becoming more difficult with the recent imposing of sharia law by the government of Brunei. Rural Kadazan need help in learning new job skills and in educating their children.
* Pray for the believers among the Kadazan to grow spiritually and be trained to share the gospel with their brothers and sisters.
* Pray for the spiritual lives of the Kadazan people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
* Pray that believers among the Kadazan would find each other and that productive churches would be the result.
Text source: David Kugel