"Inconnu" is the French
word for "unrecognized
" or "unknown
." It is occasionally used to mean a unknown person in English, but its most common English meaning is a species of fish
. They were named by French-Canadian
s accompanying Alexander Mackenzie
on his 1789
attempt to find a Northwest Passage
for ships. The voyageur
s found an unfamiliar fish and started calling it "poisson
The inconnu (Stenodus leucichthys), sometimes nicknamed "connie" or "coney," and also called sheefish, resembles a salt-water tarpon or a large herring, and is the largest member of the whitefish family. They live in Arctic and sub-Arctic areas of Alaska, Canada and Siberia, usually in large, muddy rivers and lakes. They are predators who eat other fish, shrimp, and insects. In size, they average about 4 to 9 kg (9 to 20 lbs.) and are occasionally caught by fishermen. Its oily flesh works well as smoked fish.
Inconnu is also the name of a "folk-roots-rock" band from Whitehorse in the Yukon, made up of Lucie Desaulniers-Andrieu (vocals), Nick de Graff (guitar & vocals), Andrea McColeman, (keyboards, accordion, percussion, & harmony vocals), Jay Burr (tuba), and Marc Paradis, (drums). Their music has been described as a fusion of cajun, blues and jazz for a "distinctive Canadian sound." They perform songs in both English and French, and have two CDs, Inconnu and Back To The Water on Caribou Records.