Maria Williams

Alaska Native Studies
SSB 378

(907) 786-6136


Maria received her Ph.D. in 1996 from UCLA specializing in Ethnomusicology. Her dissertation focused on contemporary traditional Alaska Native music and dance. 

Teaching Responsibilities

Williams is the current Alaska Native Studies Program Chair and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Music at UAA and teaches an Alaska Native Music course, and a World Music course. 

Research Interests

Maria's main area of research is on Alaska Native indigenous cultural practices. Her current research is community centered and based on an indigenous model.


- She recently produced a documentary called A Beautiful Life, chronicling the 750 mile journey of Athabascan Elder Daisy Demientieff.

- In 2005, she produced a short documentary called Nilgaq: 5th Annual Kinigikmiut Dance Festival June 25-27, 2004, working in partnership with the Native village of Wales and Alaska's National Park Service.

- Williams also completed a major project working with the Inupiat community of King Island in which their entire music/dance repertoire was documented via audio/video recordings to establish a tribally-controlled archive.

- The Alaska Native Reader (2009), Duke University Press

- "Alaska Native Music and Dance: The Spirit of Tradition" in Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions, edited by Charlotte Heth (1992).

- "Heritage Preservation in the 21st Century: Two Alaska Native Music and Dance Projects", in Alaska Park Science