Native American Culture: The Story Behind the Dream Catchers

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pages: 4 (1310 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Native American Dream Catchers
Trashon Pelton
University of Central Oklahoma

As a unit in social studies I would investigate the culture of the Native Americans. Native Americans have a wide range of art because of the many tribes that make up the Native American culture. Their art ranges from paintings, jewelry making, sculptures, pottery, masks, drums, totem poles, beadwork etc. I find Native American culture interesting. I am Native American myself and I enjoy learning and finding new things about my culture. The history of the Native Americans is expressed most times through their art. Their culture is tied with nature and spirits. They believed in respecting the land and the abundance of gifts it offered (Native American History). Native Americans are known for having legends and stories in their culture. Their culture is tied to nature and the spirits. The dream catcher originated within the Ojibwe tribe. The story behind the dream catcher is about a great spirit, Iktomi who is the great trickster and searcher of wisdom. One day he appeared to an old spiritual leader in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language about the cycles of life we go through. While Iktomi spoke to the man he span a web onto the man’s willow hoop that had feathers, beads, horsehair and offering on it. He told the man that each cycle of life contained many forces, those good and those bad. He advised the man if you listen to the good forces they will lead you in the right direction and if you listened to the bad forces they will lead you in the wrong direction and could potentially hurt you. When Iktomi was finished spinning his web he told the old spiritual leader to use the web to help his people reach their goals and make positive results with their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, then the web will catch your bad dreams while your good dreams pass on to you (dream-catchers). In order to make a dream catcher you need to have...

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Herberholz, D., & Herberholz, B. (2002). Artworks for elementary teachers, developing artistic and perceptual awareness. (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Kellogg, R. (1969/1970). Analyzing Children’s Art. USA. Mayfield Publishing Company.
Koster, J. B. (2001). Bringing art into the elementary classroom. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Native American History. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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