PANOUNIAS (Panoniac), Micmac chief, whose death precipitated savage warfare between the Indians of Acadia and the Armouchiquois (Penobscots) of New England; d. 1607.
When Du Gua de Monts and Champlain, together with other Frenchmen and 20 sailors, embarked 18 June 1605 from Île Sainte-Croix to explore the coastal region inhabited by the Armouchiquois (Almouchiquois) in what is now the state of Maine, Panounias and his wife, an Armouchiquois, were engaged as interpreters and guides. This expedition continued south along the New England coast to the vicinity of Nauset Harbour, just below Cape Cod. But by 9 July, when the party met Onemechin (Olemechin), an Armouchiquois chief, on the Saco (Chouacoët) River, Panounias’ wife was no longer with them and her husband was unable to interpret many of Onemechin’s remarks without her. The expedition left for Île Sainte-Croix 25 July, arriving there 3 August.
Two years later, the death of Panounias was the cause of the most serious recorded conflict between the Indians of Acadia and the Armouchiquois, who killed the Micmac chief near the Saco to avenge deaths of their own tribesmen and allies. Membertou rallied the Acadian tribes for a retaliatory raid against the Armouchiquois. Joining their allies the Etchemins (Malecites) at the Saint John River, the warriors, under the command of Membertou, travelled west to the Armouchiquois country, where they defeated their enemy. In the battle, Bessabes, the most renowned Armouchiquois sagamo, and many lesser chiefs, were slain.
Ouagimou, an Etchemin (Passamoquoddy) chief, brought the news of Panounias’s death, to the French and to Secoudon, the Etchemin chief who was with them at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.). There is some uncertainty as to the year of Panounias’s death but the historical evidence points to 1607 [see Champlain, Works (Biggar)].