What is the name of the Native American talisman used to guard against nightmares?
The meaning of dreamcatchers and the beliefs surrounding their construction originate from Native American cultures. The dreamcatcher is a protective talisman that is used to protect people from nightmares and bad dreams. The charm was usually used for young children and hung above their cradles or beds.
Dreamcatchers originated from Native American cultures, more specifically the Ojibwe tribe. The Ojibwe called dreamcatchers 'asabikeshiinh', which means 'spider'. According to the Ojibwe dreamcatcher legend, a Spider Woman named Asibikaashi took care of all the people and children on their land but as the tribe spread further and further, it became harder for her to protect everyone.
Since she could not go to every single child at night and protect them from evil influences, she got help from the maternal figures of the tribe. Ojibwe mothers and grandmothers would make dreamcatchers by weaving webs over willow hoops and hanging them above every child's bed to trap bad dreams and nightmares.
In the modern era, dreamcatchers were used by some Native American cultures as a symbol of unity throughout the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s-70s. Dreamcatchers then become known as 'Native crafts items' and become popular souvenirs.