Polansuwe Susehp Neptan

Polansuwe Susehp Neptan is the Passamaquoddy translation of Chief Francis Joseph Neptune. This was recorded by Jesse Walter Fewkes as an unidentified song, and later a war song, March 17, SR 18
Cultural Narrative: 

This recording is 2 minutes long. There are approximately 8 sentences sung in this song and it is incomplete. It was sung by Peter Lacoute who was a French speaking Passamaquoddy from New Brunswick. Molly Neptune Parker, a direct ancestor of Peter was involved in translating this song. With the preservation work on these recordings, the song is easier to hear, transcribe and translate. In 2018, we were able to hear that in 1890 Peter Lacoute was singing a song about Chief Jospeh Neptune and the Revolutionary War in 1776. 


1) U, tama ucuhsiyik nitapehsisol - Where have you come from my friend 

2) U, natapi wici suk nitapehsisol - You paddled with your friend? 

3) U, wasis ma ktahcuwi wisanaqsiw, apci wici nutehe nitapehsis  - Child you do not have to hurry up, you will be able to go out again 

4) U nil na ntapi wici nutaha wiciw nitapehsisol - I also went out with my friend (in the canoe) 

5) U, ma ktahcuwi wisanaqsiw, apci wici nutehe nitapehsis - You do not have to hurry up, you will be able to go out again 

6) U, nit na ntapi wicinu nitapehsisol - I am going too my friend 

7) Aw, Wicinu nitapehsis, kill u knaciphan naka knaciphin - …………..Go get him and get me too 

Traditional Knowledge: 

Polansuwe Susehp Neptan is the name for Passamaquoddy Chief Francis Joseph Neptune who was a hero of the Revolutionary War. During the Revolution, the Passamaquoddy community sided with the American Colonists. On June 12, 1775 the Passamaquoddy tribe assisted in a military attack against the British Fleet at Pleasant Point. The naval attack was called ‘The Battle of the Rim” and it was part of the Battle of Machias. Chief Francis Neptune fired one of the first shots in this battle and it killed the British Admiral Cox, which left the British Fleet in chaos and they quickly surrendered. Under Chief Neptune’s orders, nearly 200 Passamaquoddy men served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The role of the Passamaquoddy in securing victory in the Revolutionary War was recognized by George Washington who wrote a letter to Chief Neptune in 1776 thanking the Passamaquoddy and proclaimed a ‘pledge of friendship’.

Jesse Walter Fewkes collection of Passamaquoddy cylinder recordings SR18

Engineer notes: Scuffing at the beginning of the cylinder is audible. Cylinder was transferred in reverse.; FCP notes: [David Francis]: 'Nitapehsis olu' which means 'my little friend.' [Announcement]: ". . . taken by J. Walter Fewkes, the 17th of March, 1890."

Related Fewkes' fieldnotes are located at the National Anthropological Archives (ms. 4408:9) p. 32. A brief entry reads "War Song - Pere Lacoute"

Introductions in English, remainder in Passamaquoddy language.

Location Description: 

Calais (Me.)