Dream catcher teaches natural wisdom

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott Mills
  • 58th Airlift Squadron
The history of dream catchers can be traced to the Native American Ojibwe Chippewa tribe. The original web dream catcher of the Ojibwe was intended to teach natural wisdom, as nature is thought by the Ojibwe to be a profound teacher. 

Dream catchers of twigs, sinew and feathers have been woven since ancient times by the tribe's people. They were woven by the elders of newborn children and hung above the beds to give the infants peaceful, beautiful dreams. 

The Ojibwe's dream catchers were made as a charm to protect sleeping children from nightmares. The legend says the dream catcher will catch one's dreams during the night. Bad dreams will get caught in the dream catcher's webbing and disappear with the morning sun. 

Meanwhile, good dreams will find their way to the center of the dream catcher and float down the feather. The dream catcher is therefore considered a filter allowing only good, pleasant dreams to get through. Dream catchers are also believed to bless those who are sleeping with good luck and harmony. 

Originally the Native American dream catcher was woven on twigs of the red willow using thread from the stalk of the stinging nettle. The red willow and twigs from other trees of the willow family, as well as red twig dogwood can be found in many parts of the United States. These twigs are gathered fresh and dried in a circle or pulled into a spiral shape.
The patterns of the dream catcher were similar to how the Ojibwe's tied the webbing for their snowshoes. Hanging from the twig circle they hung feathers and stones. They used natural feathers and semi-precious gemstone with one gemstone to each web because they believed that there is only one creator in the web of life. 

Dream catchers started to get popular in other Native Indian tribes such as Cherokee, Lakota and Navajo. Today, dream catchers are made in practically every Native Indian tribe in the United States and Canada.