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Ioway Cultural Institute : Culture : Beliefs


Ioway and Sioux (including Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota) were similar in many ways, coming from the same trunk of the "Siouan-speaking" tree thousands of years ago. Ioway was closest related to Otoe and Missouria, and then next, Winnebago.

It is interesting to look at the Ioway and Sioux words for pipe.

Lakota, as has been said, say "canupa" (similar to cha-NOOM-pah) while Ioway say "ranuwe" (in beginning position, the r --pronounced between the english "r" and "l" sounds -- sounds similar to a "d"). Ioway "ranuwe/lanuwe/danuwe" (RAH-noo-way) is made up of "ra-" (to use with the mouth) and "nuwe" (two; denting the two pieces of the pipe, the bowl and the stem). Lakota "canupa" is made up of "ca(n)" (wood; speaking of the stem) and "nu(m)pa" (two; like Ioway speaking of the two parts of the pipe).

As I understand, the Lakota story (the most widely known, as the Lakota are a numerous tribe) holds that White Buffalo Calf Woman brought them the sacred pipe when they lived on the prairie and were looking for buffalo. Now the stories differ as to whether she brought all Sioux pipes, or just the one specific Calf Pipe presently kept for the Lakota by Arvol Looking Horse. It depends on who you talk to from my experience.

The Ioway stories say that the clans brought their own pipes (especially the Bear) when we were yet animals and had not become fully human. While White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the Lakota their Sacred Pipe (canupa wakan), our Ioway CLan ancestors brought us our sacred clan pipes (ranuwe waxonyita).

Lance Foster

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