A Chippewa Legend

A spider was quietly spinning his web in his own space. It was beside the sleeping space of Nokomis, the grandmother. Each day, Nokomis watched the spider at work, quietly spinning away. One day as she was watching him, her grandson came in. "Nokomis-iya!" he shouted, glancing at the spider. He stomped over to the spider, picked up a shoe and went to hit it.

"No-keegwa," the old lady whispered, "don't hurt him."

"Nokomis, why do you protect the spider?" asked the little boy.

The old lady smiled, but did not answer. When the boy left, the spider went to the old woman and thanked her for saving his life. He said to her, "For many days you have watched me spin and weave my web. You have admired my work. In return for saving my life, I will give you a gift."

He smiled his special spider smile and moved away, spinning as he went.

Soon the moon glistened on a magical silvery web moving gently in the window. "See how I spin?" he said. "See and learn, for each web will snare bad dreams. Only good dreams will go through the small hole. This is my gift to you. Use it so that only good dreams will be remembered. The bad dreams will become hopelessly entangled in the web."

Sleep well sweet child
Don't worry your head
Your Dream Catcher is humming
Above your bed

Listen so softly
I know you can hear
The tone of beyond
Close to your ear

Love is alive
And living in you
Beyond all your troubles
Where good dreams are true

Dream Catchers

An ancient Chippewa tradition
The dream net has been made
For many generations
Where spirit dreams have played.

Hung above the cradle board,
Or in the lodge up high,
The dream net catches bad dreams,
While good dreams slip on by.

Bad dreams become entangled
Among the sinew thread.
Good dreams slip through the center hole,
While you dream upon your bed.

This is an ancient legend,
Since dreams will never cease,
Hang this dream net above your bed,
Dream on, and be at peace.

Watch Video From St. Joseph's Indian School - Dreamcatcher Legend
To Lakota (Sioux) children at St. Joseph's, a dreamcatcher represents security and peace. According to Native American tradition, the dreamcatcher's web catches bad dreams and holds them until morning when they perish in the light of dawn.

Responses to "The Legend of the Dreamcatcher"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I've heard this and love to hear legends from differnt cultures. How did it come about for other nations(native) to have these as well? Adopted them? NT

  2. KImberli Offet says:

    I have had a dream catcher above my bed for over twenty my Mama's is attached to mine...thank you Mama for sharing the legend of the Dream Catcher!

  3. Anonymous says:

    really beautiful. I always have a dream catcher above my head when I go to sleep. It has a wolf pack on it... <3

  4. FulviaChristine says:

    I love dreamcatchers and have a beautiful one over my bed!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have one in the front room, one in each bedroom. Love them. Thanks for sharing the legend.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have one it hangs on the front door

  7. Anonymous says:

    Love dreamcatch trinkets and the pictures.Thanks a lot for this story it´s wonderful.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have had my dreamcatcher for many years. It brings me good rest and peace. I can't imagine not having it.


  9. Anonymous says:

    I had my dreamcatcher for many years until I meet a little boy how had bad nightmares,so I gave it to him and to this day he has not had another nightmare!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love the American Indian ways.the colours,the feathers the displays... awesome ! :-)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have always known that they are called dreamcatcher's but never knew the story behind them. Thanks so much for sharing. Very Interesting............

  12. Redtail says:

    Many tribes have adopted the things of another and this is good.We the Chippewa have adopted from other tribes too.It is just the way of things.Even from the whites,as the saying goes;Take the best of the White mans road,pick it up and take it w/ you.That which is bad throw it away.Take the best of the old Indian ways and always keep them.Thet have been proven for 100,000 years.

  13. kathy says:

    I love dream catchers and have many hanging in my bedroom and in my living room, I love Native Americans and their cultures x

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is so interesting. I was also told that the bad dreams dissolve in the morning son, that the bead attracts bad dreams and that the feathers attract good dreams. Is this true?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Miigwech for sharing the Legand. I heard it a bit differently as a child from Grandfather(Ojibwe from Canada) but basically the same. We had big black and yellow (Garden)Spiders in Michigan when I lived there as a boy. I whacked a few of them and caught hell for it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing! A beautiful legend..I think I'll appreciate the dream net even more now..really didn't believe it was an actual Indian custom.

  17. Anonymous says:

    My mother is in a nursing home with dementia and delusions. I placed a dream catcher over her bed when she complained to me of bad dreams. I like to believe that it has helped her sleep more peacefully.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A really beautiful legend. I've had dream catchers in my home for years. Love them and what they represent! Thank you.

  19. It is not a legend. This particular (newer) version of the story is specific to Chippewa tribes from the north, central USA. The dreamcatcher is a 'medicine teaching'.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I've read that dream catchers originate in southern plains and made their way up during colonization but are not traditional to the peoples up jerr

  21. Everyone sleeps better tonight having read this around the world. Good Dreams to All..

  22. Anonymous says:

    When 2 of my children left here I had their catchers, feathers and jewelry cremated with them to carry with them in their journeys beyond

  23. Anonymous says:

    I make dreamcatcher when I feel the need for one. They also work. I never make them when I'm feeling unsettled or troubled, cuz what you feel goes into the dreamcatcher. I love them and love reading the different legends about them.

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