Dream Catcher

My informant here brought up the notion of a “Dream Catcher”, and began to tell me about her dream catcher that she had growing up as a kid. She told me that the basis of her dream catcher was that it was a round piece of wood with leather bands webbed inside of it, with feathers coming out of the top and hanging from the bottom. She said that her parents had bought it for her at some point when she was in elementary school in Pennsylvania. She remembers her mom telling her that if she placed it on the outside doorknob of her room, it would catch all of the bad dreams and nightmares that she would have, and would only allow her to have good and sweet dreams.

My informant said that she believed in this notion completely, and left it on her door for years until she moved out of her house in high school. “I don’t think I would have been able to sleep without it” my informant said. She found solace in believing that it was there to protect her, even though she “knew it probably didn’t actually do anything real”.

My informant tells me that her parents told her that it was a longstanding Native American tradition to use dream catchers, and that it had protected them from nightmares for centuries. “It was just something I believed and didn’t think about too much”, she said, “after a while it completely just blended in with my door, it’s like it was supposed to be there”.

I believe that this piece of folklore may have truly been started by the Native Americans years ago, and transferred to many parts of our culture because it is a nice idea and a good way to find solace in your sleep. I feel that it has lived on through parents giving them to their children, perhaps because the parents truly believe in them, and perhaps because they feel that it is a good part of growing up. I would believe that it is mostly children that use dream catchers, but believe that many adults do as well, as a part of keeping a tradition that they have had since childhood.