Inside the medicine wheel on the Mdewakanton Dakota Shield is a pipe, or canupa, which stands for prayer between man and a higher power. When the tribes gathered, the pipe was smoked in thanks for everyone being together. The buffalo skull, a religious symbol, is part of the altar during the sun dance. The arrow and ax are symbols of bravery. The tipi stands for the meeting tipi for the Dakota tribes. The seven feathers stand for the seven council fires, which make up the Dakota Nation.