Aki Maragang and His Descendants

The immediate descendants of Aki Maragang, namely, his children, are:
1. Runsud
2. Rongguvai
3. Tomui, and
4. Sayap, the only daughter.

Whether or not these were the actual names of Maragang's children will always remain a mystery. And whether or not a man by the name of Maragang existed no one can tell. However, they were the first known native inhabitants of the land.

Maragang and his family lived in the shadows of a very high mountain. They called this mountain Akinabalu which comes from two words, "aki" and "nabalu."

Aki means male ancestors and nabalu coffin. But since a deceased person cannot remain forever inside a coffin, akinabalu refers the resting place of the spirits of dead ancestors of these natives.

People conveniently refer to this mountain as Mount Kinabalu, without the "A".

It would appear that Aki Maragang was from the Tolinting tribe who were the 'first' group of natives living in the shadows of Mount Kinabalu. They were the first considering there is no new information on the name of the first natives who made the place their home.

(Mr. Raymond Tombung had written that people from Tuaran native tribe were the first to inhabit the area around Akinabalu. Information that this may or may not be so will be provided in time to come. However, there is little probability of this given the fact that the language spoken by the people around this mountain differs from the Lotud language.)

Runsud Ventured North
There was this narrative that Runsud went northwards. Runsud's sphere of influence would have covered Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, the area between Kudat and Kota Belud, and probably the area extending to Paitan and further south.

It was learned (Kudat, 2012) that Aki Runsud migrated to the north of what is now the Island of Borneo, confirming the foregoing narrative. The Rungus people trace their ancestors back to Runsud. The name Rungus seems to come from "Runsud." Their version of Runsud is "Rungsud."

It was also learned at that time (2012, Kudat) that Aki Maragang may have had a fifth child, a son. It was said that the name of this son was Torumpak (or Torumpok?). It may take sometime to verify whether Aki Maragang had a fourth son or Torumpak was the name of one of the sons of Runsud. Or could Torumpak be Tomui?

Aki Maragang may also have had other children by different wives. This was fairly common among the people in the old days.

The question is whether Runsud or one of the other children was the eldest. The Rungus living in the longhouses at Tinangol call their tribe Kimaragang (after Aki Maragang).

It is fairly clear that Kimaragang comes from two words, Aki (grandparent) and Maragang (name of ancestor). (The "A" is removed and "ki" is joined to "Maragang", thus Kimaragang.)

Rongguvai and Descendants
Rongguvai also migrated to other areas of North Borneo. It was said that his descendants are found scattered in the interior regions, the area towards the east up to Telupid / Beluran, and from Ranau to Keningau. The Lahad Datu Idahan who say that they are a sub-race of the Kadazan-Dusun people, could also come under Rongguvai's descendants.

Inter-marriages between some of Rongguvai's descendants and the Lundayeh living in the area bordering what is now Kalimantan may have resulted in a tribe that is called Muruts to this day. Most of them inhabit the Pensiangan-Nabawan-Sook-Tenom region.

However, based on a particular theory, the Muruts may not fall under the direct descendants of Aki Rongguvai. The theory states that if there is little similarities in the languages spoken by two different groups, the probability is that they are not descended from a common ancestor. In the same way, the Lotud of Tuaran seems to satisfy this theory.

(Rongguvai is referred to as "Longguvai" by the Rungus people. Kudat, 2012)

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Aki Tomui Ventures Westwards
Aki Tomui also left the birth place of the Kadazan-Dusun people at the foothills of Nulu Akinabalu. Aki Tomui went westwards, in the direction of the setting sun.

He and his family settled at a place within the area what is now called Penampang. The descendants of this group of natives who stayed at Penampang later became known as "Tangaa". (There were people who migrated to Penampang from Sunsuron, Tambunan at a later period. They were the Tuhawon.)

After some time, Aki Tomui left Penampang and went southwards towards Papar. Presumably, he did not bring his family with him. He was looking for more land for his people. It was said that he raised a family there. His descendants living at and around Papar called themselves "Kadazan" since a long time ago. (Owen Rutter's "Pagan Tribes of Borneo, 1929) There is a place officially called "Tomui" at Papar. The name 'Kadazan' was later used to call these native people. Kadazan means 'people.'

Aki Tomui's wanderlust made him move once more, this time northwards. It was said that he settled at Matunggung, near Kudat. While there, he must have married his third wife. Life was like that in those days.

(Note: It is believed that the name of Matunggung comes from the word 'motung-hotung' which refers to the sound made by the gongs when beaten during festivities.)

This can only mean that the descendants of Aki Tomui living at Matunggung could have inter-married with the descendants of Aki Runsud. It was learned (2014), that there is a tribe around Kudat calling themselves "Gonsomon" who speak the Kadazan language. This confirms that Aki Tomui did go to Matunggung or somewhere near Kudat.

Odu Sayap, the ONLY Daughter of Aki Maragang
If you go to Kota Belud and ask some people, you will get confirmation that there is a village called Kampung Sayap. The mountain of Kinabalu (Nulu Akinabalu) is fairly near to Kota Belud. The mountain seems to rise at the edge of Kota Belud.

The fact that Kota Belud is not too far from this majestic mountain may have resulted in Odu Sayap getting married to a native of Kota Belud. She could have gone to look for eels there and was spotted by a male native of Kota Belud. By the way, Belud sounds similar to "belut" which is a Malay word for eel. Kota means fort.

It is said that the descendants of Sayap are warrior-like even to this day.

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The Land of Aki Maragang

It is quite clear that the children and the descendants of Aki Maragang had staked their claims on this land a long time ago. They have the right to stay here since they have a NCR over a large area of this part of the island of Borneo.

The British never disinherited them of their ownership although these colonialists failed to do something concrete to have their customary rights over the land protected in perpetuity. Of course, land ownership in perpetuity was implemented. Even this perpetual ownership, recognized as Native Title, is under threat now.

No one can deny their rights now even if their number has dwindled in terms of a percentage of the population. Their number is only number two now having been overtaken by a group referred to in population census as 'bumiputra baru'.

NCR: Native Customary Rights


P.S.Shim in his book "Inland People of Sabah - Before, During and After Nunuk Ragang, 2007" mentions some names. One of these is 'Tomui' but his version differs a lot from what is stated here. Still, it is clear that the Kadazandusuns made this land their home a very long time ago.

In KadazanHomeland:

  1. The word "Kadazan-Dusun" is used as not referring to a particular race. It is used as a classification of the various ethnic tribes having similar racial and cultural background.
  2. The use of the term "Kadazan-Dusun", or sometimes KDM (to include Muruts), demonstrates these people's desire to be one united people. The Muruts are believed to have come from Kalimantan.
  3. Aki Maragang is considered the earliest known ancestor of the Kadazan-Dusun people at this point in time. There could be earlier ancestors who remained unknown at this moment.
  4. Books on local history fail to mention 'Maragang' although the term 'Nunuk Ragang' is widely known. P.S.Shim in his book "Inland People of Sabah - Before, During and After Nunuk Ragang' mentioned 'Tomui' but 'Kimaragang' was not mentioned as his father. Instead, Tomui is mentioned as the ancestor of a number of local tribes.

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