Re: dream catchers

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 23:39:46 -0500

I fear I must be the one to disenchant:

On Tue, 15 Oct 1996, Tania Hajjar wrote:

> I am a reference librarian in Colorado who needs information on the
> following question:
> Is there a culture besides the Native American that makes dream
> catchers, or produces a craft associated with good dreams?

Three comments:

First, there is no single "Native American" culture.

Second, it is not really possible to give a "tribal" identification to the
recent spate of Dream Catchers. While the basic mythology of the Dream
Catchers (i.e. hang it on a cradle to intercept bad dreams) *MAY BE*
(although I do not know of a specific reference) generically Great Lakes
region, the production of netted hoops both with and without related
mythology (both dream and non-dream related) ranges across the Great
Plains (i.e. Hoop and Pole games).

Thirdly, given the inherent variation in one and two above, the recent
fascination with "dream catchers" is best considered as the '90s version
of the yarn God's Eyes/mandalas popular in the late 60s. That is, it is
not "traditional."


Thomas Kavanagh
Curator of Collections
Mathers Museum
Indiana University