Even though no small number of Indian tribes used dreamcatchers, they were especially characteristic of the Ojibwe tribe. While still children, tribe members would be given a dreamcatcher as a talisman to shield them from evil.
From the ancient past until today, a dreamcatcher has always been made of a hoop with a woven web and feathers on the side, placed above a child's bed to protect it from nightmares and any dangers that may be lurking throughout the night.
Dreamcatchers grew in popularity as trade developed between the Indian tribes, as well as between the Indians and first European settlers.
The white newcomers were first given dreamcatchers by the Lakota Indian tribe.
The legend of the magical properties of the dreamcatcher, according to the Ojibwe tribe, began with a grandmother saving a spider that her grandson wanted to kill. As a way of thanks for having its life saved, the spider spun a web, giving it as a gift to the grandmother, to ward her from the night's evil.
But the Lakota Indians tell a different story. Their legend goes that the chieftain of the tribe once encountered the clever trickster Iktomi in the form of a spider.
Iktomi told the chieftain how evil spirits were trying to take hold of people through their dreams. He then wove a web for the tribe to capture the positive energy.
This makes the 2 legends completely different from one another. Just as the dreamcatcher of the Ojibwe captures the negative energy, the Lakota one captures the positive.
Every part of the dreamcatcher has its own symbolism. The hoop symbolizes the cycle of life, the web - the trapping of evil, and the hanging feathers stand for the good dreams that come down to us.