an indigenous word for truth

Our word for truth or correctness or any of its synonyms is w’dae’b’wae, meaning, ‘he or she is telling the truth, is right, is correct, is accurate.’ From its composition – the prefix dae, which means ‘as far as, inasmuch as, and according to’ and the root wae, a contraction of wae wae referring to sound – emerges the second meaning, which gives the sense of a person casting his or her knowledge as far as he or she can. By implication, the person whom is said to be dae’b’wae is acknowledged to be telling what he or she knows only insofar as he or she has perceived what he or she is reporting, and only according to his or her command of the language. In other words, the speaker is exercising the highest degree of accuracy possible given what he or she knows. In the third sense, the term conveys the philosophic notion that there is no such thing as absolute truth.

– Basil Johnson, quoted in Leanne Simpson’s Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back

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