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The Chanunpa is one means of conveying prayers to the Creator and the other sacred beings. The various parts of the pipe have symbolic meanings, and much of this symbolism is not shared with those outside the culture.
The sacred pipe is smoked by many tribes, though what is smoked varies. The plants can include tobacco, red osier bark, bearberry leaves, and others. Chanunpa is specifically the Lakota name for their pipe; other nations have their own names for their ceremonial items, in their own indigenous languages.
Lakota tradition has it that White Buffalo Woman brought the Chanunpa to the people, as one of the Seven Sacred Rites, to serve as a sacred bridge between this world and Wakan Tanka, the "Great Mystery".
- Looking Horse, Chief Arvol (March 13, 2003) "Looking Horse Proclamation on the Protection of Ceremonies" at Indian Country Today Media Network
- Rice, Julian (1998). Before the great spirit: the many faces of Sioux spirituality. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-1868-1.
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