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Initially upon hearing the word “artifact” it is easy to think of common objects such as maps, buildings, or pieces of pottery. Yet, the amount of artifacts known to mankind is innumerable. Although some are discontinued, some remain in practice and continuation today. A prime example of those who remain popular is the dreamcatcher. Today, they are used to prevent bad dreams from occurring, and as a form of protection and healing from evil spirits. 
Dating back thousands of years ago, there lie various ancient legends about the origin and history of dreamcatchers. Amongst these legends, lies the belief that dreamcatchers were created by the Native American tribe, “Ojibwa Chippewa” who believed in the spirit world and that the mind’s deepest recess was played out in dreams. They believed that dreams revealed revelations, but that they were interrupted and affected by the energy in the environment where one slept in. Thus, came the creation of dreamcatchers according to this legend. Another legend conveys that most ethnographers believed that dreamcatchers were passed down and adopted by the Ojibwa tribe through intermarriage and trade. The final legend states that a woman from the Ojbwe tribe by the name of Asibikaashi served as the spiritual protector for the children in the tribe. She was best known as the “Spider Woman” who watched over and took care of the children on the land. Yet, as the people of the Ojibwe tribe continued to spread out farther across the land, she was unable to reach most children. Consequently, she created the first dreamcatcher and encouraged mothers and grandmothers to recreate it as a form of protection for their children. While being recreated, a popular Ojibwe custom stated that the story of the “Seven Fires” was to be read to the children. The story involved seven prophets who arrived to the Atlantic coast of North America who warned those living on the land about the seven prophecies that they predicted would take place. The prophecies stated that the upcoming years would bring in drastic changes and that the people of the land should be prepared to make some adjustments in order to survive. The prophecies also stated that what awaited them was a coming of race that was likely to destroy the land and most likely kill them all. They warned the people of the land that they would be evicted from their homes and how this new race, whom they described as the “New People” would seek to pursue the voice of their ancestors. 
Moreover, the origin for the word dreamcatcher derived from the Ojibwe word “asabikeshiinh” after the Spider Woman’s name. Hence the fact that a dreamcatcher is a handmade willow hoop woven onto a web or net. The purpose behind the creation of dreamcatchers was to keep away any bad dreams and negative energy lingering in the night air. In the same way that spider webs catch and tangle up what comes in contact with them, dreamcatchers were meant to catch the negative energy found in the air, as well as any nightmares and bad dreams. The indigenous people believed that good dreams would pass through the dreamcatcher and gently slide down the feathers to comfort sleepers, whereas bad dreams would become tangled up and eventually flee once the morning light arrived the following day. 
In addition, every part that makes up dreamcatchers has a meaning tied to the natural world. For instance, dreamcatchers are shaped as circles as a representation of the circle of life and as a representation of how both the sun and moon travel day and night across the sky. The dream catcher web is what catches nightmares and negative energy and discards them the next day. As for the feathers, they intend to have the good dreams gently flow through while the person is asleep. When it comes to the interlocking circles found in the middle of dreamcatchers, they symbolize the importance of numerology. Lastly, the beads found in some dreamcatchers as a form of decoration is said to have two different meanings. The first conveys that they represent the web weaver itself, the spider. Whereas, the second meaning states that the beads represent the good dreams that were unable to pass through the web, and consequently were converted into charms. However, many believe that the first reason is far more realistic and is ultimately the true representation for the beads found in some dreamcatchers. 
In essence, the history behind dreamcatchers is one which will continue to live on, looked upon as symbols representing cultural pieces of art who hold significant meaning, prophecies, and healing energy. While used only by the indigenous thousands of years ago, today dreamcatchers are amongst the few artifacts which remain in use and are largely popular. 

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