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Learning the art of dream catchers

Local NewsLearning the art of dream catchers

A free Native Traditions community event was held at the Brantford Public Library for its second drop-in event on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

Gina Hill is the host of the drop-in event in partnership with Belonging Brant and will be sharing teachings and showing how to make Indigenous items like medicine bags, dream catchers, drums, rattles and more.

At Wednesday’s event, Hill walked attendees through the steps of making their own dream catcher using a gold hoop, sinew (a waxed thread), strips of leather, beads, feathers and glue.

Attendees started by taking a long piece of sinew and tying a knot to the hoop before learning how to weave and tighten the waxed cord to create a web.

Hill noted that it was perfectly alright if each web started to look to different, but that it was important to avoid any negative thoughts while creating it.

“Really, it can look however you want because all dreamcatchers are never the same,” she said. “But you have to have a clear mind when you make these because if you don’t have a clear mind, your dream catcher is not going to work for you. You can’t swear or have negative thoughts when you’re doing any Native craft, you really always have to have that clear mind.”

Bobi Taylor works on wrapping a strip of leather around a dream catcher during the free Native Traditions drop-in event held on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

When attendees completed their web, they moved onto wrapping the hoop with a strip of leather before adding their choice of feathers and beads.

“When you’re done making your dream catcher you hang it up in your window and it helps to catch the good dreams and lets the bad dreams out,” said Hill.

 She encouraged attendees to either keep the finished dream catcher for themselves, or to wrap it up and gift it to someone else.

According to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology and the Indigenous Foundation, dream catchers can be traced back to the Ojibwa people and were used to help catch the dreams of infants and children, and filter them. The art of hand crafting dream catchers was later adopted by other tribes, nations and cultures within Indigenous communities.

Belonging Brant receives a large Trillium grant to help connect with citizens who are passionate or interested in seeing something in their community and works to help support local projects. It’s an asset-based community development framework that is all citizen led and driven by people’s passion, gifts, wants and needs.

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