In a chapter called “The Saga of Alex Stefansson” Pálsson recounts interviews he had with Stefansson’s grandchildren, the children of his son Alex.
p. 227-28, quotes Rosie in defense of her mother Pannigabluk who she saw as responsible for Stef’s survival and ability to live on the land. Quoting her grandmother she says: Your grandfather thought he was so smart he could live without me or anything. He could’ve died if it wasn’t for me. So if you learn how to live white-man way how are you gonna live on the land? You could starve to death. And you don’t know where to look for things. In life that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, not reading those books and learning how to read and write…that’s for lazy people.
p. 239: According to Rosie, the family often argued about the use of reading books, as if the Icelandic heritage and Inupiat traditions conflicted. Panigabluk and her daughter-in-law thought reading was only for good-for-nothings. It was a custom Stefansson had introduced and Alex then preserved with the help of his children:
So my mother would get so tired of us reading that she’d grab anything we could read and throw it in the fire. “You girls are not doing right. This is not the way you’re supposed to be.” So my father would come back, and he’d find that she’d thrown all the papers away. He, I don’t know, one way or the other, he’d start getting books; the Reader’s Digest, that was the first book that we started getting, just Reader’s Digest; then we could read again. My grandmother said, “You know, that’s just the way their grandfather was.” And, “Well, you lived with him, you had your son from him, he’s our dad. He must have been good for something.” “No. He would have starved it it wasn’t for me. He didn’t know how to hunt and trap nothing.” “Well, why did you live with him then?” Then she had no answer for that .