Legend of The Dreamcatcher

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Legend of The Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatchers are so popular now! But what do dream catchers do? According to a Lakota/Dakota/Nakota legend, it all began when Iktomi gave away the web of life.

Long long ago, in a region called Lakota, the people would go to their village Chief to seek his wisdom in matters beyond their understanding. The people of the village absolutely loved their Chief and considered him as the most wise and powerful man. However the Chief was getting older and he wanted young men to come up to the front and lead their tribe.

As is the tradition, one day, the Chief told his people, “My loved ones, brothers, sisters and children, It is time for me to give way for the young and able to lead our tribe. But ask me for one last solution for your troubles and I will take it to the mountains for you.”

The village had a tradition that the Lakota Chiefs would visit a sacred place on top of a mountain when they face difficult problems while serving the people. Even though his people was saddened to hear that the Chief was going to step down, they sought his help for one last time.

“O’ Wise One, you have made our lives so much better that we have no words to tell our gratitude. We wish our children would sing praises of your wisdom and power. However, O Great Chief, our children has been suffering from bad dreams and not sleeping properly. Please help us out.”

The Chief said “Oh, that is a tough one. How can we control our dreams!? Especially the children! Let me take help of the Gods and their wisdom.” saying so, the old Chief started the traditional journey to the mountain. He started his journey with few essentials for the trip and an offering of a willow hoop adorned with strings of beads and feathers.

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All through the journey the Chief meditated on the problem of bad dreams. He knew that even though some things appear to be beyond his grasp, the Gods would reveal it to him if he meditates on the question. Soon enough, Iktomi the great trickster and wisdom-keeper appeared to the elder in a vision.

Iktomi is the son of the Thunderbird. He is a shapeshifter, a trickster and often takes the form of a the spider. Legend says that he is responsible for giving culture to the Lakota. He is good at magic and helps people to protect themselves from evil.

In the vision, Iktomi began to weave a web inside of the willow hoop that the Old Chief was carrying. Iktomi had thus made the first dream catcher and he told the elder to give it to his people. Iktomi told “This web of life I have woven on your offering of willow hoop will capture all the good dreams and ideas. The bad dreams would pass through the hole in the center of the web and be lost into nothingness.”

The chief was overjoyed to hear this. But Iktomi continued “This dream catcher when placed above the sleeping child, his bad dreams will be caught in the web. And his good dreams would slip down to the child through the hole in the center. At daybreak the sun’s rays would destroy the bad dreams.”

The Chief understood that Iktomi was just trying to trick him with words. In all cases his children would be protected from bad dreams! He profusely thanked Iktomi and rushed back to his village to give this great gift to his villagers.

The village people were so overjoyed at this solution that they made a dreamcatcher for each of their kids. It is said that the villagers never had a bad dream after that. They still praise the chief for his wisdom and follow his tradition to this day!

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