By Martha B

When I was a little girl, we celebrated October 12 in our school as “Columbus Day,” as we were taught that it was the day that Columbus “discovered” America in 1492. Columbus had thought erroneously that he had reached his target destination of India and thus called the natives “Indians!”

Starting only in 1990 did Americans begin to call October 12 “Indigenous People’s Day,” recognizing full well that Native Americans had inhabited these lands longer before the Europeans and therefore  Columbus had not technically “discovered” anything!

A good way to mark the holiday this year would be to make a “Dream Catcher” which is a type of mobile made by Native Americans of the Great Plains and later adopted by other tribes.  Dream catchers are made by forming a circular hoop out of flexible wood and creating a beaded web inside.  It is then adorned with other objects that are personally meaningful to the artist.

Legend says that Dream Catchers, placed in our bedroom window, will keep us from having worries and nightmares – something much needed in these stressful times!

I created my dream catcher as part of an Ann Arbor District Library program. To my dream catcher, I have added the personal touches of a small drum (picked up in the west by a friend on a trip to Oklahoma) and an evil eye bead (Nazar Boncuğu from a Turkish friend) as a protection from danger. These days, as I go on my daily walks, I sometimes find a feather to add to it.  I particularly like hawk and blue jay feathers, as they represent to me “strength” and “happiness” respectively.

I suggest that it would be a great family project to make your own Dream Catcher, perhaps this fall while you are staying at home for long periods of time!  There are many websites that show you how to  make your own with materials you may already have on hand.

Happy dreams to you until we meet again!

Dream catcher