October 11, 2004

Indian summer

A reader writes:
Tim -
I hear you are wise like the old indian man, well answer this one for me. Why do meterologist, heck, and everyone else for that fact, call the warm days in October, Indian Summer? What do the indians have to do with warm fall weather? I don't see the connection. Also, are their native american tribes out there protesting againt weathermen who use the terminology "Indian Summer"? Do they find it offensive?
Regards and enjoy your Indian Summer!

Tom Mahoney

Well, I would just like to say that I am honored that the illustrious Green Bay TV weatherman Tom Mahoney would visit my website to ask me about the weather. That's like Chris Samp asking me a qestion about being an awesome football player.

"Indian Summer" is an interesting expression, though. While some may find it offensive, it is much less offensive than some of the forms it has had in the past, such as "Redskin Summer" and, before that, "Brutal Savage Summer." Nonetheless, the more politically correct term "Native American Fall Warming Period" has been gaining traction.

As far as the origin of the term, that's another story. When Europeans first started colonizing the Americas, Native Americans (then mistakenly called Indians) were already here, living the good life. There were plenty of buffalo, and the marijuana practically grew itself. Life wasn't all buffalo steaks and mary jane, though. Those living in the upper midwest needed a way to tolerate the cold seasons. Towards the middle part of fall they would begin to do their "warm dances," in an attempt to change the weather. Back in the 1600's, these dances were quite effective, since the gods that the Native Americans worship are actually the real gods. The effectiveness of the dances surprised the Europeans, who for centuries had been foolishly making "coats" and "hats" to keep themselves warm. The Native Americans wisely cut out the middle man and just made the weather warmer. Thus, Europeans started to call it the "Indian summer." As the influx of white people continued, the white man's diseases were spread to Indian Shamans. These diseases attacked the ability of the Shamans to change weather patterns. Now, Native American dances are mainly ceremonial, although I have it on good authority that much of what is called "Global Warming" is actually the accumulated effects of the few remaining Indian Shamans. Also, Native American dances are responsible for Roe v. Wade and why magic carpets used to work. Posted by mill1991 at October 11, 2004 12:42 PM