Origins of Violence
Recognizing a Native American Holocaust
Pestilence and Genocide
Sex, Race and Holy War
Examining the Reputation of
Christopher Columbus, Marrano and Mariner
Christopher Columbus Jewish and New Christian
Christopher Columbus and the Indians
The Native American Discovery of Europe before
Columbus exposed as iron-fisted tyrant who
tortured his slaves
Columbus Day -The white man’s myth and the Redman's
How Lincoln's Army 'Liberated' the Indians
Lincoln Targeting Civilians Is a War Crime
Massacre at Sand Creek
Wounded Knee Hearing Testimony
Wisconsin Trail of Tears
Winter Count: History Seen from a Native
American Tradition -
The Story of the Opposition on the Road to
Extinction: Protest Camp in Minneapolis
Who Deems What Is Sacred?
Brutality vs Nonviolence of the People
Mendota Sacred Sites - Affidavit of Larry
Cloud-Morgan, Catholic activist, buried
with his peace pipe
and the Silo Pruning Hooks
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willow animal effigies
of the Southwest
Archaic culture, art from a 4,000 year-old tradition
Real Dream-Catcher of the
Seventh Fire Heritage Collection
by White Eagle Soaring.
We provide some of the
finest natural materials so you can create a dream catcher very
similar to the one originally woven by the Anishinabeg. As you
weave, bring the other beings of Mother Earth into your thoughts.
Remember the plants as you handle the wooden twig; the rocks and
waters as you add semi-precious gems; and the four-legged and winged
ones as you use the feathers. Honor them as though they were
your relatives. They are.
Bring your heart into the Circle of All Beings as you weave
the connections within the wood ring. Remember that even though the thread
is very fine, we are all connected. We have much to learn from each other.
As you honor all of the beings of Creation, you bring honor and harmony to
Offer compassion and loving-kindness to yourSelf. This may
be your first or second experience weaving the dream catcher. Although you
can expect wonderful results, you do not have to expect to be a master at a
craft you have just begun to learn. Be patient and self-forgiving. Letting
go of judging yourSelf (and others) frees you to enjoy more fully the
present moment. The past is dead and the future is yet to be. The only
life that truly exists is here and now. Many of my students have found that
they do their best weaving when they are mindful of what they are doing as
they are doing it. There area fewer mistakes, stress melts away, and they
feel at peace and joyful when they finish. Weaving the dream catcher is
much more than a craft project. It is a meditation that will bring you
closer to the Creator, the Great Mystery that also abides in your heart.
Most of the weaving is done with
the simplest of knots and loops. The overhand knot is simply the making of
a loop and passing through the loop. The half hitch is the same as an
overhand knot except that it is tied around something.
Dream-Catchers should be light and airy, like dreams. The best wood to use
comes from the willow and from red-twig or gold-twig dogwood. You can choose
species of willow that are golden, reddish-brown or black. You will want
twigs that are smooth, slender, un-branched and 2-4 feet tall. The dogwoods
rarely provide such long slender branches, but occasionally they will send
out a sprout from the base that makes its way through the canopy of the
shrub in one season without branching. Gathered in the late fall or early
winter, you will not have to strip the leaves, you will be able to more
easily avoid branched twigs, and the plants will have stored their food in
the roots to await the coming of spring. Then they will re-sprout stems from
the roots and send forth a new crop you can harvest again the following
fall. As you gather, thank the plants for their contribution and leave an
offering of tobacco to thank Mother Earth.
The moisture inside the stems is more than sufficient to allow them to be
bent into a ring for weaving. No soaking should be necessary. If the wood is
too dry it should be discarded for it will not easily absorb water without
spoiling the colored bark. The best way to form the rings is inside a metal
can with parallel sides. Plastic containers usually are narrower at the
bottom than at the top and can even be hazardous to work with because the
twig can creep up the sloped side and come shooting out of the container
into the eye. The trimmed twig is coiled into the can small end first,
carefully avoiding bending it sharply, and spiraling up ending with the
large end nearer the mouth of the can. Some hand strength is often helpful
to bend the larger ends. After some trial and error you will recognize which
can diameters are appropriate for the diameter of the twig.
Several variables affect the rate of drying--the amount of water in the twig
at the time it is coiled into the can, the thickness of the twigs, the
humidity and temperature of the surrounding air, and the amount of air
movement near the cans. Some of these variables can be influenced by placing
the container in front of a heating vent or in an oven at very low heat for
several hours. Too much heat will carbonize the bark and make it brittle.
When sufficiently dry the wood will hold its shape and diameter. However, it
can absorb moisture from a damp environment and change shape over time.
Using a by-pass pruner or a side-cutter to cut rings from each coil so that
there is a side-by-side overlap of the ends of about one inch. This looks a
little finer if the cut is beveled. Store the rings in a dry place. Do not
store the rings in a closed plastic bag.
Preparing the Shuttle
fiber was first used to weave the Dream-Catcher. Nettle-stalk fiber is from a plant and must be made into thread by
retting and treating it like flax. Native Americans who lived on the
Great Plains would probably not have access to nettle and would
probably use sinew. Sinew is a tissue that comes from an animal. It is
difficult to obtain unless you do a lot of hunting, and difficult to
work with in weaving. Imitation sinew is the weaving material used
almost universally today. It is a plastic thread similar to dental
floss and covered with a thin layer of beeswax. You will need about
fifteen feet of sinew to weave the Power of the Circle Dream-Catcher.
Most manufacturers make a sinew that looks so heavy that the Dream Catcher
looks like a small snowshoe. The sinew must be split into finer
threads, usually four, by running the thumbnail over an end so it gets
flatter and wider. Then holding the very edges in the tips of your
fingers, begin to pull it apart watching which way the threads want to
go. If you pay attention to the sinew it will tell you how and where
to pull. Feel free to ask it. (And I mean feel-free) Take whatever
splits easily. As you continue to split the sinew the other threads
will usually be separated to they will be easily found later.
Sometimes it will begin to knot before fully split, sometimes several
times. Be patient. You may be able to force past this knot by putting
tension on the unsplit end. But do not pull too hard. When this
material is forced into a tight knot the situation is probably so
hopeless that you will be tempted to start over again with a new
piece. Sometimes you can remove one thread at a time, sometimes you
can split it in half and then split each half once again. Remember to
stay in the moment, focused on what you are doing and what you are
feeling. Forgive yourself, forgive the manufacturer, forgive me
(please). There is no blame, it just is, and get on with it. The good
news--the factory from which I buy my sinew makes a pre-split sinew
that could help you avoid all of this. The bad news--they give you
one-eighth the sinew for the same price as the sinew that must be
After you have split
off one of the four threads you can create a "shuttle" for ease of
weaving. The shuttle is a simple innovation that makes it easier
to quickly and accurately weave a dream-catcher because all of the
thread (imitation sinew) is neatly wrapped up in what I call a
temporary shuttle. The beeswax makes it all stick together.
I had tried to weave my
first dream catchers with the thread lying on the floor around me. It takes
about 15' of "sinew" to weave Power of the Circle. That's a lot of pulling
through and back. Trying to increase my speed of weaving, I put a lot of
stress on my shoulder and elbow. There had to be a better way. I found it.
However, some sinews had too little beeswax and the shuttle would fall
apart. In such a case it is always a good safeguard to have a bit of beeswax
on hand to add more to make it stick together.
How important is this? I
can weave this dream catcher in about 7 minutes using the shuttle weaving
technique. And creative use of hands, of course. More about that later.
If you are planning to
weave a lot of dream catchers, you will want to purchase from me the same
imitation sinew that I have used for many years. It can be split into four
strands to give a much finer weave.
Holding one end of the sinew between thumb and index finger, begin to wrap
it around three fingers--the index, middle and ring fingers. (Trust me. Four
fingers will make a shuttle so long that it will be necessary to hyperflex
the wrist as you weave. Head down! Carpal tunnel ahead!) Continue to wrap
around three fingers making a narrow band about a1/4 inch wide. Leave a
short tail sticking out so you can find it again. Failing to do this you
will probably have to tear the shuttle apart to find the beginning end. Now
gently slide this band off your three fingers, pinch it together near each
end, and roll it between your palms. The result should resemble a tan
firecracker. This "shuttle" will vastly increase the ease, simplicity,
accuracy, and speed of weaving.
Sinew buyer beware--some sinews will be impossible to split such as that
offered at many craft stores and a major leather craft chain. Some sinews
will split very easily but have too little beeswax to hold together as a
shuttle and fall apart as you weave. This also makes it almost impossible to
thread on the gemstones later. See the information about supplies in the
appendix Sources and Resources.
Now you are ready to start:
Pay attention to the way the sinew comes off the shuttle:
avoid pulling through the shuttle. Keep the shuttle together by frequently
rolling it between the palms of your hands or, with one hand, over your
thigh. Beeswax holds the shuttle together. If you hold the shuttle in your
hand too much and for too long, the beeswax will melt onto your hand and
will no longer hold the shuttle together. Then you will have a much more
difficult time weaving with a tangle of thread.
Avoid holding the shuttle in your hand!!
Go on to
weave a Mid-point Dream-Catcher, Power of the Circle
Go on to weave an End-point Dream-Catcher, the
original spider web