3. May 2012 06:14
One of the best known Native American crafts is dream catchers. Dream catchers come in all shapes, sizes and materials; because of their popularity, they’re made by many different tribes.
Many believe that the dream catcher started with the Chippewa or Ojibwa people. The legend told is that a young Ojibwa mother, carrying her baby in a cradleboard, went into the woods to gather some berries, leaving her child in the shade while she worked. Returning to the baby, she was horrified to find a spider weaving its web across the cradleboard, and killed the spider.
But when she got home, her grandmother explained to her that the spider had been trying to protect the sleeping baby, and that she must do something to honor the spider. The grandmother instructed her on how to create a web something like the spider’s using red willow and sinew, leaving a hole for the good dreams to pass through while the bad dreams were caught in the web.
Betty Jack is one of the last Ojibwa elders in Wisconsin to make traditional dream catchers. She starts by collecting red willow ranches, first making an offering and thanking the willow for its gift. Then she shapes the branches and weaves a traditional web using artificial sinew. A feather to attract dreams is attached, along with a small pouch of Ojibwa “tobacco”.
Betty’s dream catchers are not mobiles or colorful toys to hang on your rear view mirror. No claims are made to magical healing powers and no guarantees are offered—they are made, as they were in the past, to help you help yourself.
Buy traditional Ojibwa dream catchers at http://www.coyotesgame.com/nadream3.html.