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Dream Cather - Essay Example

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A dream catcher is a Native American artifact that is found in most American homes. A dream catcher is a hand woven artifact that is made of threads and other sacred and personal items such as beads and feathers. …
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Dream Catcher Dream Cather A dream catcher is a Native American artifact that is found in most American homes. A dream catcher is a hand woven artifact that is made of threads and other sacred and personal items such as beads and feathers. It is made to form a web shape and is believed to filter out bad dreams. It is mainly used to protect people from nightmares and bad dreams while sleeping.
According to Oberholtzer (2012), Dream catchers initially originated from Native Americans of the Ojibwa nation. Traditionally dream catchers were made of two hoops, three and a half inches in diameter made out of wood, which were filled with something which looked like a spider web. The dream catchers were not designed to last long hence they weathered with advancement of age signifying that the children whom the dream catcher was supposed to protect from bad dreams and nightmares had come of age.
Different scholars have put across different theories of how the dream catcher was initially used. Some say it was a unifying symbol for the entire Native American nation. Some say that it was of form of identification for the Native Americans (Oberholtzer, 2012). The native Americans believed that the dream catcher would filter out bad dreams and nightmares allowing only good dreams to fall down to the dreamer through the feathers, hence the dream catcher was supposed to be hang over the head of the person intended while sleeping. According to Oberholtzer (2012), traditionally a dream catcher benefited a lot of people in many ways. It increased confidence among the members of the company as the fear that accompanies bad dreams and nightmares was not present. Native Americans believed that evil spirits entered a person while sleeping. By using dream catchers the Native Americans were able to protect themselves from evil spirits hence the community lived a peaceful life with understanding with each other. They also believed that dream catchers also brought good luck to the people using them. They believed good luck came in form of dreams and if someone experienced good dreams they would have a full filling day as good dreams were an indication of blessings from the gods. Finally the Native Americans believed that the dream catchers increased the productivity of the community since people did not spend the whole day trying to interpret the meaning of the bad dream or nightmare. This is because Native Americans believed that bad dreams and nightmares were usually as an omen (Oberholtzer, 2012). An omen is an indication that something terrible is about to happen, hence if people experienced nightmares and bad dreams, they would spend the day trying to figure out what bad thing was about to happen or trying to avoid the occurrence of such an event like death hence being un productive.
It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that the dream catcher gained popularity all over the United States of America. These Native American beliefs have been used by Americans today to as a solution of the problem of nightmares which very many people have. It has been assimilated into other religions in The United States of America which if observed carefully might be considered to be witch craft and sorcery like in Christianity. Despite this, the use of dream catchers has seen an increase in the use of the artifact. According to Oberholtzer (2012), this is true to an extent that people have drawn tattoos of dream catchers on their bodies to always protect them from evil spirits, nightmares and bad dreams.
However, the Native American artifact has been misused. Dream catchers are nowadays made for commercial gain. People have used the nightmare problem that many people have to make money by manufacturing dream catchers in factories in order to make a huge profit. Traditionally a dream catcher was a personal item and hence was hand woven. A ritual was usually during the making of a dream catcher in order for it to perform its special functions. Nowadays dream cultures have loosed their cultural value since they are made and used in the wrong way.
According to Nies (2012), the conflicting accounts of the origin of dream catchers are as a result of the reinterpretation of the artifact in many ways. The commercial misuse of the artifact has its misuse among Americans. This misuse has seen the decline of its use among today’s Native Americans who have come to view as something that has lost its purpose. People should respect the Native American culture from which the artifact comes from and should avoid misusing the artifact
Reference
Nies, J. (2012). Native American History. London: Random House.
Oberholtzer, C. (2012). Dream Catchers: Legend, Lore and Artifacts. Bolton: Firefly Books. Read More
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