Wednesday, October 06, 2010
I love dreamcatchers. When I was little, I went to this Native American summer camp, called SKY camp. I don't remember what SKY stands for anymore. But it felt like the one place that I could go and feel less alone. I never really knew anyone growing up who was Native American. And I certainly didn't know anyone who was half-Native American, like me (my brother aside). So I went there, and while I didn't make any lasting friendships or anything, I at least felt like I belonged.
There'd be normal summer camp things to do there, rowing and archery and arts and crafts. Only the arts and crafts were things like looming beaded belts or making regalia to wear to the dances. One time, we made our own dream catchers. I'm usually rubbish at these sort of things, and even though my dream catcher was slightly lopsided, I loved that thing. It was about the size of a quarter and I carried it around with me so much that I stained the twine with my greasy fingers. I still have that thing, twenty years later.
Dream catchers aren't originally from the Tlingit tribe (of which I and my children are a part of), in fact they originated with the Chippewas, but it felt like something that could be shared, something universal. The idea being that these dream catchers would be hung above a child's bed. And the nightmares would get caught on the sinews and beads and only the good dreams would filter through. I love that idea.
When we moved into the house we lived in, one of the first things that went up in the bedroom was my dream catcher. When I was expecting each of the boys, a friend gave me a dream catcher as a baby shower gift. It was the perfect gift she could have given me. I knew immediately that each of the boys would have to have a dream catcher for their rooms. And they do.