TRADITIONAL OJIBWE HANDMADE DREAM-CATCHERS
Much time is spent in the creation and respect of our dream-catchers.
From the trips in the forest to cut the willow branches to the traditional
offering of tobacco back to nature. Ojibwa/Ojibwe tradition is observed.
Some dream-catchers have long willow sticks overlapping at the top
flowing down to the bottom. These extensions represent carrying the
bad dreams far into the universe.
The Ojibwe people using willow sticks and sinew originally crafted
dream-catchers. The willow stick was shaped like a teardrop
overlapping at the top and tied with sinew. The web was then formed by
hand weaving the sinew on the willow stick frame and sewing one bead
or stone in the web.
The dream-catchers were traditionally hung above their sleeping areas.
A misconception of dream-catchers is that they were for the children.
They were used for all members of the tribe including children and
Bineshii dream-catchers are created using the same ancient Ojibwe
Bineshii also honors the Ojibwe tradition of offering tobacco when
consuming nature's offerings. (As the cutting of the willow branches)
The tobacco offering acts as a medium of prayer to the Creator giving
thanks for the great gifts he has given us.
Our dream-catchers are photographed laying on buckskin as this is
what dream-catchers were wrapped and carried in. Bineshii dream-
catchers are never hung. Only the recipient of the dream-catcher
should hang there gift as set in tradition.
THE OJIBWE DREAM CATCHER LEGEND
A grandmother watched patiently each day as a spider spun his web
above her sleeping place until one day her grandson noticed the spider
and tried to kill it.
"Don't hurt him," she told the boy in a soft tone, surprising him.
"But grandmother, you should not protect this spider."
When the grandson left, the spider thanked the woman for her
protection and offered her a gift. "I will spin you a web that hangs
between you and the moon so that when you dream, it will snare the
bad thoughts and keep them from you."
At this, grandmother smiled and continued to watch the spider spin his
ELEMENTS OF THE OJIBWE DREAM-CATCHER
The weaving is traditionally patterned after a spider's web and is to
catch bad dreams and keep them from entering the dreamer's head.
The single bead or stone represents the spider.
The rounded bottom of the willow hoop symbolizes the form of the sun
and the moon. (Day and night) The top of the willow hoop where the
willow branch crosses and is tied represents the transition of each
day's circle of life.
RESPECT OF THE DREAM-CATCHER
The commercialization of dream catchers is an unfortunate
misappropriation of Ojibwe spiritual traditions.
Marketing and mass-production methods have left customary materials
at the wayside in favor of easily obtained supplies such as metal rings,
fishing line instead of sinew, balsa wood instead of willow, etc. Many
non-Natives also produce and sell dream catchers, further confusing
the item's important spiritual traditions.
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