Today was the first summer day that we have had this Spring; it was a complete beautiful day, the snow went in licks. Some of the men shifted their quarters today on board the Polar Bear as the house was getting kind of damp. We seem to be at outs with Pannigabluk; she has not been at the house to eat for two days now. She was caught stealing some small articles on board yesterday and at lunch we had clap-facks for lunch she had three in her plate, she also had about ½ pound of lard to eat with them. We have about 20 pounds of lard to last us until we get somewhere and I told her if I ever see her use lard like that again I would take the lard off the table and the poor woman felt insulted.
Captain of the Polar Bear
Library and Archives Canada/Mikan 97784
The Mackenzie Inuvialuit woman known as Pannigabluk had been Stefansson’s seamstress during his 1908-1912 expedition, and became his wife according to local custom during that time. Their son Alex or Alashuk was born in 1910. Pannigabluk was again hired briefly by Stefansson for work in northern Alaska in the spring of 1914, and later on the Polar Bear in August 1915.
Pannigabluk made water-tight summer boots, winter kamiks and parkas and pants for the Expedition members. She travelled with the Northern Party to the Arctic islands. She was well-liked by the Expedition members, though on occasion, she came in for some criticism over her fondness for some items of white man’s food.
I had the priviledge of interviewing some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Sachs Harbour and Inuvik. She was an impressive woman and left an important legacy for her family.