The story of dream catchers

The story of dream catchers


PROFESSOR: Class, today we have a special guest, Mr. George Wolf of the Ojibwe Nation. Please welcome Mr. Wolf. [Sound of applause]

GEORGE WOLF: Hello, class. Today, I am happy to tell you the story of dream catchers. This is a story from my Ojibwe people … Imagine a time long, long ago. All our people lived together and enjoyed telling our traditional stories about Spider Woman- the one who gave life to the world. In our stories, we talked about her beautiful web. Every morning, she made her web to catch the sun for us. Then, we started moving to other parts of North America. As we moved far away,
it became difficult for Spider Woman to take care of us all. To help Spider Woman, all of our mothers, sisters, and grandmothers started making dream catchers for sleeping babies. We still make dream catchers today.

To make a dream catcher, we first use parts of trees and plants to make a circle. It shows how the sun travels across the sky. Next, we make a web with a hole in the center. The dream catcher is very important. The web stops bad dreams from entering the mind of the sleeping baby. Only good dreams pass through the hole in the center. This protects the baby-keeping out bad dreams, letting in the good dreams. Also, there is a little feather in the center. The meaning of the feather is “breath” or “air:’ As the little feather moves in the air, the baby watches it and feels happy. The baby enjoys good, healthy air. 

Now remember, the baby will grow. He or she will not stay a baby forever. This is just like the dream catcher! The dream catcher is temporary-it is made of trees and plants, and it does not last. But of course, old traditional ways always change. Today you can find many styles of dream catchers with so many beautiful colors and feathers. These dream catchers are made of modern materials. Many people use them and give them as gifts. They believe that the dream catcher will stop bad dreams. The good dreams, the important dreams-all of these come to you through the little hole in the center. In this way, the dream catcher is good for your mind. It will help you to feel happy and peaceful.

And of course, in the twenty-first century, you can always shop for dream catchers online. [Laughter] There is one website that says dream catchers are good gifts for friends. It says that when you give a dream catcher to a friend, other people will start asking, “Where did you get that beautiful dream catcher?” And your friend will tell the story of you and your friendship, and the story of you giving the dream catcher as a gift. Do you see how beautiful this is? The dream catcher helps your friend to remember you, to appreciate your love and friendship. 

To conclude, I want to say that traditional life is very important to Native Americans. Our young people still learn about our culture today. They understand that dream catchers are important to us. Today, you sometimes see very big dream catchers in stores and online. These are popular, but they are not traditional. The traditional size is small-just four or five inches across. Also, you sometimes see dream catchers in people’s cars. Maybe people think they are good luck for driving. But no, the dream catcher is not for your car. The traditional dream catcher goes over your bed, in the place where you sleep and dream. 

Thank you so much for listening today! I wish you all beautiful dreams

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