Giant dreamcatchers light up Timiskaming First Nation for the holidays

·2 min read

For the last few years, Janice Wabie and her family have made a Christmas decoration of epic proportions.

A giant dreamcatcher adorned with hundreds of Christmas lights stands on the front lawn of Wabie's aunt and uncle's house in Timiskaming First Nation, an Algonquin community in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec. With about a 3.5 metre diameter, it features over 900 lights.

"It's amazing how many people stop at night just to take pictures of this dreamcatcher," said Wabie.

About four years ago, Wabie's uncle had the idea to upcycle an old trampoline.

"He spoke to my aunt and saw that they had this old trampoline in the yard and said 'Why don't we make it into a nice big dreamcatcher and put lights on it?'" said Wabie.

"Since I was little, I've been making dreamcatchers for everyone, so they gave me a call one day and I came up and I put together this big dreamcatcher."

Submitted by Janice Wabie
Submitted by Janice Wabie

She's remade the decoration every Christmas since, with assistance from her family members throughout the entire process. Each year, they think of new ways to improve the design to withstand harsh Quebec winters.

"Every year so far, it's broken by the end of the season from the wind, snow and ice buildup. This year, they put wire to reinforce behind it to avoid the web from blowing in and out. Hopefully it works," said Wabie.

This year, Wabie put another old trampoline frame to good use by making an additional dreamcatcher for her own yard. It's decorated with LED light strips that connect to an app that allows the colours to change in synchronization with music.

Submitted by Janice Wabie
Submitted by Janice Wabie

Wabie said when she was younger, there were not a lot of cultural activities in Timiskaming. She was among the first people in her community to take up jingle dress dancing, and now teaches others and hosts regalia workshops.

She's passed on that passion to sew, bead, and craft to her daughters and hopes her family's holiday decorations inspire others in her community to reconnect to their culture.

"Bringing things out like this, I want people to not be afraid to show who we are and just be proud of our culture," she said.