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Dreamcatcher feather meaning - Dream meaning

(Ojibwe - White Earth Band

- meaning "net-like, looks like a net")

Bwaajige Ngwaagan

(Ojibwe - Curve Lake Band

- meaning "dream snare")

Photograph of an Ojibwe 'dream catcher' from the early 1900's [From Densmore 1979].

Today dream catchers are made by Native American artists from many Nations; a great deal of People are under the impression that the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota (called Sioux by others) originated the dreamcatcher. There are many Native American stories and legends about spiders and webs, but the Ojibwe (called Chippewa by others) originated the dream catcher. A look at the long tradition of storytelling, oral histories, passed down parent to child, generation after generation, clears up any confusion about the origin of dream catchers.

Frances Densmore conducted an extensive study of material culture of the Ojibwe/Chippewa living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada in the early 1900's and the information is presented in the book, Chippewa Customs. published by Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul) in 1979. Densmore describes that articles representing spider webs were usually hung from the hoop of a child's cradle board, and it was said that 'they catch and hold everything evil as a spider's Web catches and holds everything that comes into contact with it'. These 'dream catchers' were wooden hoops with a 3 1/2 in. diameter, filled with a Web made of nettle-stalk cord that was dyed red with bloodroot and wild plum inner bark. It is interesting to note that the 'weave' of the dream catcher photographed in Densmore's Work is different from that usually done today. By the early 1900's, dark red yarn had been substituted for plant fiber in constructing the Web by the Ojibwe. Densmore also mentions a similar netted-hoop made by the Pawnee to represent the Spider-Woman, a spirit who controlled the buffalo.

The Ojibwe, whose traditional homeland is around the Great Lakes region, have ancient stories about the dreamcatcher, how it 'came to be', why it is used, and how it should be made. A while back there was quite a discussion about the origin of the dream catcher on the soc.culture.native Newsgroups and on the Native-L Listserver.





Dreamcatcher feather meaning Dream meaning
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