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 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