Dream Catcher History
TRADITIONAL OJIBWE HANDMADE DREAM-CATCHER
Much time is spent in the creation and respect given each of our handwoven dream-catchers. From the trips in the forest to cut the willow branches to the traditional offering of tobacco giving back to nature. Ojibwa/Ojibwe tradition is observed.
AN AMERICAN INDIAN OWNED COMPANY
TRIBAL AFFILIATION OJIBWA/OJIBWE
TRIBAL ENROLLMENT I.D. #408B23246
LOCATED ON THE LEECH LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION
IN NORTHERN MINNESOTA.
All our dream-catcher willow sticks come from the same dream-catcher willow tree grove provided by
nature for many past generations.
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 bone 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 adults.
Bineshii dream-catchers are created using the same ancient Ojibwe customs.
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 web.
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.