July 14 is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Native American woman who offered her life to Jesus. She will be canonized as an official saint of the Church in October. I am very excited because she is my Patron Saint.
Kateri Tekakwitha and I have much in common. Her father was Iroquois and my father is Iroquois. She had severe vision impairments, I have bad sight. Christ whispered to her to become a Catholic throughout her life, He whispered to my heart long before I was baptized in 2007.
Dreamcatchers are well-known as a Native American tradition and, although the Iroquois did not “invent” them, they adopted the practice of using dreamcatchers. I thought it would be fun to create a traditional Native American dreamcatcher with a Catholic twist.
This tutorial is for a traditional dreamcatcher and is intended for older children and parents. For small children, skip the knots and just allow them to weave the yarn however they would like. Encourage them to weave across the center in order to create the weblike center.
1. Gather your materials.
2. Using a pair of scissors, poke into the center of the plate and cut a large circle out of the plate leaving just the rim.
3. Punch holes around the perimeter of the plate. Punch about 16 holes evenly spaced.
4. Using your long strand of yarn, tie a loop to the top of your plate. Gently string the yarn through each hole, weaving it in and out of each hole. Wrapping a small piece of tape around the end of the yarn makes it easier to weave.
5. When you reach your loop, you will begin creating the center of the dreamcatcher. Wrap the yarn around the center of the first “in between” piece of string and then wrap it around itself and pull through the loop formed when wrapping. Pull the knot taught but not too tight and move to the next “in between” piece.
6. After repeating step 5 a few times skip one hole and then knot on the next for one round. Continue step four until there is a small hole in the center of the dreamcatcher. Finish off the dreamcatcher with one last knot.
7. Now take your medal or crucifix and open the jump ring and attach it somewhere near the center of your dreamcatcher.
8. Native Americans usually hang feathers from the bottom of the dreamcatcher. White feathers to represent dove feathers, the bird used in the Bible to represent the Holy Spirit would be perfect to hang from your dreamcatcher. First tie three strings into the bottom three holes on your dreamcatcher. Then slide three pony beads onto each string and tape a feather to the bottom of the string. Pull the pony beads down a little to hide the tape. Do this for all three strings.
9. Now you can pray this prayer before going to sleep:
Jesus Christ my God, I adore you and thank you for all the graces you have given me this day. I offer you my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I ask you to keep me from sin. I put myself within your sacred side and under the mantle of our Lady. Let your holy angels stand about me and keep me in peace. And let your blessing be upon me. Amen. From A Catholic Prayer Book, Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Copyright 2012 Alicia Hart