- A handmade willow hoop with a woven net or web, sometimes including sacred items such as feathers or beads.
- Considered a symbol of unity and a great symbol of identification.
- Many Native Americans have come to see dreamcatchers as over-commercialized, offensively misappropriated and misused by non-Natives.
- An Ojibwa legend says the dreamcatcher originates with the Spider Woman. Spider Woman took care of the children on the land, but as the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America it became difficult for her to reach all of the children. So, mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children. The webs were usually red, after originally being made of nettle fiber. Two spiders were hung on the hoop, and it was said that they ‘caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it’.
- Traditional dream catchers were intended to protect the sleeping individual from negative dreams, while letting the positive dreams through. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The negative dreams would get caught up in the web, and expire when the first rays of the sun struck them.
- The hoop symbolises strength and unity.
- Native Americans believe that the night air is fulled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher hung over or near your bed catches the dreams as they flow by.
- Dream catchers are a hoop decorated by findings from day to day life (feathers, beads, arrow heads).
- The original web was intended to teach natural wisdom. Dreams of twigs, sinew and feathers have been woven since ancient times by Ojibwa people. They were woven by the grandfathers and grandmothers for newborn children and hung above the cradle to give the infants peaceful and beautiful dreams.
- Good dreams are clear so they know their way to the dreamer. Bad dreams are confused so they cannot find their way and are instead trapped in the web, evaporating with the sunrise.
- Originally, the Native American dream catcher was woven on twigs of the red willow using thread from the stalk of the stinging nettle. Natural feathers and a semi-precious gemstone are incorporated – one gemstone to each web because there is only one creator in the web of life.
Artists have taken dream catchers and personalised them over time, making beautiful creations and works of art inspired by the idea.