Jenna asked in Social ScienceAnthropology · 7 years ago

Are dream catcher cultural appropriation?

So 6 years ago when i was a kid i got a dream catcher as a birthday present from a friend. it's not even an authentic one, just a nerdy little thing. I've kept it all these years because it was a comforting idea of how it would catch the bad dreams out of the air. But now I feel as though this might be an insult to Native American culture, however I would like some other opinions on this. Also if this is cultural appropriation what would be a good thing to do with the dream catcher? Would selling it at a tag sale or donating it be spreading the appropriation?

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  • Hannah
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favourite answer

    First off I want to thank you for being culturally aware enough to consider how (even possible) cultural appropriation could effect and offend people from Native cultures. So many people don't consider it at all (or think our feelings don't matter..ie several of the others posters), and I am always so happy and grateful when I see people take our feelings into consideration.

    Am I *personally* offended by the use of un-authentic dream catchers? No, I'm not offended, but then again I am not from the tribe dream catchers originate, nor can I speak for all Natives.

    As Asdzani pointed out, it just gets annoying when people use dream catchers in the way weren't intended to use. Such as tattoos. I don't find tattoos of dream catchers offensive, per say, but they certainly do make me roll my eyes.

    As Asdzani also pointed out, feel free to sell the dream catcher if you'd like. If you want to be careful about offending Natives don't label the dream catcher "Native American" as it's not, since it's not authentic.

    And DeeAnna does not speak for all Natives, as most Natives would frown upon non-Native taking up our customs and beliefs since that leads into extreme cultural appropriation and the bastardizing of our cultures..And most would certainly not compare the use of our traditions to eating Chinese food.

    But again, thank you for asking!!

    Source(s): Blackfeet
  • score
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Authentic Dream Catcher

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Dreamcatcher Cultural Appropriation

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    Some native groups view the selling and use of "dream catchers" by "new age" groups and individuals as a form of cultural appropriation. However, if you purchase one from a native craftsperson, I wouldn't be concerned about it. Dream catchers are "cross-cultural" and found among multiple tribes and are often sold for the general public. So, just don't buy one from Walmart.

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  • Offensive? Nah.... but definitely worth an eye roll as the others have said. Made in China knock off crap is appropriating. And it takes money out of the pockets of the many Natives who spend hours making authentic ones to sell....which is an act of cultural exchange......whereas made in China or by a non Native is approriation.

    And like another poster said, they aren't what people have come to think of them as. You wouldn't hang a pacifier round your neck or in your window....would you?

    Source(s): Anishinaabe.... as in Ojibwe The culture dreamcatchers are from
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Nope, not offensive at all. And why do I feel comfortable saying this.. Because I am Native American!=]

    Honestly, it's not offensive. I would rather people continue the beliefs of Native Americans rather than letting it die out. Just because you're not Native American doesn't mean you can't enjoy our little traditions or customs. That would be like me not eating Chinese food because I'm afraid to offend Chinese people for eating their cuisines when I'm not a part of their race.

    Don't think so much into it. And it's your property, so you may do whatever you wish with it. You could sell it, or donate it, whichever you think is right and whichever you are comfortable with. I honestly love Dream catchers, I have about 5 of them in my room alone. Haha.

    Sweet Dreams ;]

    Source(s): Native American; of the Lenni Lenape tribe!=]
  • 7 years ago

    depends. if it's a cheap Chinese-made copy of a native American object, then yes.

    Dream catchers are Ojibwa cradle decorations, like crib mobiles. They have no spiritual significance or magic powers . They work to keep bad dreams away the exact same way that a child's night light keeps the monsters away.

    Using it correctly, as a child's decorative item, is fine. In fact, many native tribes make and sell them for exactly this reason. (they aren't sacred or anything)

    What's annoying and misappropriating is when people get obsessed with them, and get them tattooed on themselves (which looks ridiculous to us) or hang them from rear view mirrors, or attribute magic powers to them, or wear them as jewelery.....and so on.

    That sends the message that these people are clueless about native cultures, and just feel free to appropriate whatever they want from another culture, and use or misuse it in any way they want.

    please read:http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/09/cultural-excha...

    as to what to do with your dreamcatcher? Toss it, sell it, donate it or keep it. Your choice.

    btw....gotta love the non-natives who feel qualified to answer on behalf of natives. That's another attitude that just baffles me. Personally, I would never presume to say what a person of another race might find offensive.

    edit***********@DeeAnna.....which Lenni Lenape tribe in Oklahoma are you from? Delaware Tribe of Indians or the Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma?

    Oh, and please learn the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation.

    Source(s): Navajo
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Not and insult. a nice thing if it makes you feel good

    all cultures have their stories.

    I give you permission to wear a clover on St. Patrick's day

    we are all Irish then.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Cultural appropriation is bull. sh.it., just like multiculturalism and political correctness. If we were to subscribe to all that b.s. that would mean that blacks shouldn't sing opera or that asians shouldn't dress in western style clothing.

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