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Lucy Nicolar
aka Princess Watawaso

Last updated August-2008

Lucy Nicolar was born on Indian Island on the 22nd of June, 1882. She was the daughter of Joseph Nicolar and Elizabeth Joseph. Her childhood winters were probably spent making baskets. Each summer her family traveled to Kennebunkport, Maine to sell their baskets to the tourists. Lucy and her sisters provided entertainment for the customers, usually by singing and dancing. By the turn of the century, Lucy was performing at public events such as Sportsmen's Shows.

Lucy married in 1905 to a Boston doctor and moved to Washington, DC for a time. Little else is known about the man or the marriage. They were divorced in 1913. This same year she moved to Chicago and studied piano at the Music School of Chautauqua.

Lucy was employed for a time on the Redpath Chautauqua Circuit where she performed generic "Indian" entertainments. It appears this is where she first started using the stage name "Princess Watawaso". It was about this time that she met and married Tom Gorman, a lawyer, who also became her manager. After the stock market crash of 1929, Mr. Gorman took most of their money and left for Mexico, leaving Lucy behind.

Lucy's 3rd husband was Bruce Poolaw, a Kiowa entertainer from Oklahoma, much younger than herself. The two eventually settled on Indian Island and built a gift shop. The shop was called "Poolaw's Indian TeePee". Ne-Do-Ba owns a basket purchased from this shop in the 1940s.

After her retirement from the entertainment business, Lucy took up many causes for the betterment of the Penobscot People. At the top of the list were voting rights and education. She and her sister, Florence, worked together throughout their lives to change the public's view of Native People.

Lucy Nicolar died at Indian Island on the 27th of March, 1969, at the age of 87. She is buried on Indian Island. Bruce Poolaw returned to Oklahoma and passed away in 1984.

Source: Princess Watahwaso: Bright Star of the Penobscot, by Bunny McBride, 2002
Compiled by: Canyon Wolf - August 2008