April 5, 2010

Dusun Tatana - Origin

I am curious to find out more about my heritage. If you have facts that contradict with my version, please, pray tell. I would love to hear from you.

Tatana is one of the Sub-group of the tribe, Dusun. Dusun in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, refer themselves as Dusun Tatana.

(Note: These days Dusun has been ‘bundled’ together with the Kadazans. We are called KadazanDusun now. Politically correct)

According to oral history passed down to my mother (whose memory is not as sharp as it was before, I’m just writing what she told me), the word Tatana means ‘earth people’ or in Malay, ‘orang tanah’.

In the old days, the Dusuns in Kuala Penyu were constantly harassed by a neighbouring tribe called the Bisaya. Quite common those days. Old folks say that a village was considered a country back then, hence, if it was a fight between 2 villages, it was actually considered as a fight between  2 countries. And head hunting was still being practiced back then. Hence, the raids could be a head hunting party.

As a defence, the Dusun in Kuala Penyu started building underground hideouts. When the raiding party came, the Dusuns would hide in these underground hideouts. That is how Dusun Tatana came to be known as Tatana.  

It is also claimed that due to the constant harassment by the Bisaya, some Dusun migrated in land, as far as Tambunan. Not sure whether Tambunan already had its Dusun community then or whether the present day Dusun Tambunan are the progeny of these Dusun Tatana that migrated there.

This is the problem with oral history. It changes each time it’s retold.

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Anonymous said...

Nice post and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you seeking your information.

Justin said...

I'm glad I helped you :P

jon yehsi said...

In fact that 90% of Tatana Have chinese blood. Legend said that Si Lasak (Chinese) used lead Tatana tribe but however headhunter often raid the tribe therefore apart of his descendant move to Bundu tuhan.

Justin said...

Hi Jon, Si Lasak? Never heard of this one. Care to share?

Yes, I heard about legend that some of the Dusuns from Kuala Penyu running to the highlands after getting fed up of constantly being raided. However, the version I got was they ran to Tambunan.

John Smith said...

Dusun tatana language is influenced by many language especially the Brunei, Chinese and the Dusun. Nowadays there only a few old people that still know of our Tatana origins

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