Simply put, freedom is defined as the condition of minimal restraint. This is the main theme in Dreamspeaker. The author, Cam Hubert, addresses this topic with symbols. Using the Sisiutl, legends, dances and suicide, Hubert makes sure that readers see both the good and the bad of freedom. Peter had never felt free before escaping from the institution. When he finally got out, peter experienced the best parts and the worst parts of living a free life. Symbols are used by Hubert to represent all parts of freedom.
The first symbol to show up in the novel is the Sisiutl, a mythological creature of indigenous tribes from British Columbia. A Sisiutl's form is "something long and snake-like, leaving a wet trail on the floor, raising it's horned heads, searching, looking both in front and behind". Quite a creepy image to think about. In Dreamspeaker, the Sisiutl is used as a symbol for Peter's lack of freedom. Being tossed around from foster home to foster home, Peter never really felt in control of his life or free to be himself because he found himself constantly being "the new kid". That is why the Sisiutl is the symbol for this. It chased him away from the institution like his lack of freedom chased him away from the institution. The Sisiutl was an excellent symbol for the lack of freedom in Peter's life.
Another symbol that emphasizes the central theme of freedom in the book is the legends and dances that Peter learns from the Dreamspeaker and He Who Would Sing. These represent gaining Peter's journey to freedom. Peter has to "fight his demons", the Sisiutl, which represents his previous lack of freedom, with the legends and dances. Often freedom isn't just handed to us, we have to go out and get it. That's why Cam Hubert included these British Columbia First Nations rituals in order to convey this idea to the readers. Peter made his first step to freedom by running away from the institution that he was at, but we can't run away from our problems and at some point must fight the battle for freedom.