Kevin Brousseau’s newest book, Trilingual Lexicon of the Fauna and Flora of Iynu Asciy, is truly one of a kind and possibly one you should own.

At the age of 18, several years before he started his double major in Linguistics and Religion at Concordia University, Brousseau began compiling lists of Cree words and their definitions simply because he wanted to learn Cree. Almost a decade later in 2007, he wound up self-publishing The Practical Iynu Dictionary, which is a by-directional, bilingual dictionary and made so that English words could be translated into Cree.

“The real drive behind it was that my whole family, a lot of my cousins and siblings, were not spoken to in Cree when we were young and so we didn’t learn it. There were a lot of kids in Val d’Or who didn’t know how to speak Cree. It bothered me that there weren’t any tools for us to learn it and our parents weren’t making the effort to speak it to us either” said Brousseau.

Brousseau, the product of a Cree mother from Waswanipi and a French-Canadian father, grew up in the Val-d’Or area with little resources to learn the language. After much persistence with his mother and a few years of living with his grandmother, he finally learned the language.

Since releasing his first book, Brousseau said the dictionary remains a hobby that he works on from time-to-time between writing projects but it has never been his fulltime focus. His obsession with the language however remains ongoing.

Last year, Brousseau put out his second book, Iynu Names for Your Baby, that featured 130 ancestral Cree names and the Cree forms of adopted foreign names.

“We have a lot of names like this in our communities – George pronounced Goge, Henry pronounced Hendli or Hendlish, Abraham pronounced Ebrehem,” said Brousseau.

His latest work, Trilingual Lexicon of the Fauna and Flora of Iynu Asciy, was published by the Cree Research and Development Institute (CRDI) this fall.

Brousseau said the project took two years and started out as a Cree Forest Lexicon because in Cree the terms for fauna and flora are very sparse in Cree dictionaries and oftentimes incorrect or contradictory from one dictionary to another.

“Even within dictionaries you will find samples and they will both be in the same letter on a different page and they will actually give a different definition for that same word to identify a different bird,” said Brousseau.

The idea was also to cement these terms into record before the Elders who have this information died along with the words.

Over a two-year period, Brousseau interviewed over 50 Elders for the project so that the pronunciations and spellings of each term would be as precise as possible. Not only did he interview Cree Elders, he also spoke to Anishinabe from Lac Simon and Pikogan because the Cree language is related to Anishinabe. Atikamekw Elders from Obedjiwan were also included because, according to Brousseau, the language they speak is about the oldest form of Cree in the country.

“It was interesting to speak to them because a lot of the word forms that we have in Waswanipi are different from everywhere else in James Bay. Once I interviewed the Elders from Obedjiwan I realized that people in Waswanipi have a dialect link with them,” said Brousseau.

There are three language sections – Cree, French and English – to his book on fauna and flora. At the back of the book, Brousseau did his best to include photos of every bird that he had a name for in Cree.

Through the CRDI in Waswanipi, 300 copies of the book were printed with 150 being mailed out to Cree institutions and businesses within the Cree territory. Brousseau and the CRDI are charging only the printing costs, $10, for those who would like to receive a copy and the profits will go into a fund to print more books.

“The book is amazing because nothing has ever been done like this before with all of the pictures. You can take it in the field and look at the birds and the ducks and the tents where people do their kills and have the pictures to look at to identify them,” said Brousseau.

To order a copy, contact Brousseau at