Do Native Americans really look unfavourably upon the use of dream catchers in New Age traditions?

I read somewhere that most Native Americans and their supporters do not approve of the use of dream catchers in New Age traditions. I just wanted to know if this is true, and if it is, then why?

I'm asking only because I do want to be respectful of Native American traditions and beliefs and I want to understand their perspective on this particular subject. I don't mean to insult anyone by asking this question, Native American or New Age practitioners alike.

5 Answers

  • Dylan
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I'm enrolled in the Navajo tribe, and grew up on the reservation.

    Personally I can see why some would find it insulting. It's a stereotype, only certain tribes actually used Dream Catchers, and they had a specific purpose. To an American who hangs one on their rear-view mirror it shows the lack of respect on their part.

    Its been used by New Agers so often, that now its a universal image of Indians to the uneducated masses. Like war bonnets, scalping, teepees, and many other things.

    This conflicts with who we are, example being Navajos didn't have bonnets, we didn't live in teepees, we didn't scalp, and we didn't use dream catchers. So when people who aren't Native to begin with march around with these objects and stereotypes they only reinforce them.

    Like fake "shamans" who charge thousands or dollars for fake ceremonies. Or mascots even, people never seems to find these things offensive, mainly being because they don't even bother asking real Natives, or researching in the first place.

    So it is true that Natives don't like things like that, we roll our eyes at Cherokee Grandmother stories, and tattoos of feathers and other stuff like that. I have some contacts who can say some more, just wait for them.

    Source(s): Navajo, thank you for asking too by the way
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Your an ***, we took this land from the native people. We are the intruder. We make them live in slummy reservations and turned them into alcoholics! Who cares if they scrape a few dollars by making dream catchers and building casinos. The money they make from that they put back into THEIR community by ways of education etc..And you do have an opinion based on your snyde remark of "whatever their being called this week". Despite what you think there is a history w/ dream catchers. Do some research!

  • Sarah
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Myself, I don't approve anything New Age being connected to Native Americans. If someone has New Age beliefs, they should say that instead of trying to attribute their beliefs to Native Americans or taking bits and pieces of our beliefs to twist and use as their own.

    I wouldn't use a rosary as an accessory or decoration nor would I preform baptisms because I seen them done on youtube. That would be disrespectful to Catholics. But I guess lots of people are not raised with the same respect for others and their beliefs that Natives are.

  • tina d
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I, as a student of life and culture, have one answer for you, and it makes sense, based on a number of sociology and anthropology books Ive read.

    The Native Americans do not want any more of their culture and beliefs taken, twisted, manipulated or otherwise hijacked by outsiders. The Dreamcatcher, like many other items & practices, are sacred to their culture and their beliefs. While as non-Natives, we may admire and/or recognize the value these things have, I dont think its appropriate to incorporate them into other practices.

    A similar issue is for non Natives to attend sweat lodges. While the process itself is physically very intense, and therefore easily not for everyone, it is also a spiritual practice, with months and months of preparation to enter a deep meditative state.

    It is sad- but, nonNatives, and us Yanks in particular, have taken so much from the Native Americans at our own discretion- land, natural resources... life! I don't think Americans know that there were over 25 MILLION Native Americans who perished- through the course of Columbus' 'discovery' of the 'new world'. Through smallpox, internment, relocation, destruction of food and subjegation- I think that 'we' owe them more than we can ever give. (my personal opinion- which every christian should also accept as a legacy sin- just like 'original sin' something we inheritedf from generations' past)

    We should neither stand in awe of nor have disdain for these peoples. But we should respect their culture as their own. That is not to say that we must ignore or isolate "them", but our engagement with "them" must be as individuals, with the same respect we want for ourselves.


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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's not that it's that they are tired of people connecting that to all natives like they do with head dresses and teepees. All the white folks I see with them put them in funky places like their office desks and car windows like they are some christmas decoration. It's like they have no respect for it or what it means and they don't even know what tribes they are from.

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