Maria Williams has taught at UNM since 1999. She received her Ph.D in 1996 from UCLA in Music, specializing in Ethnomusicology. Her dissertation focused on contemporary traditional Alaska Native music and dance. Williams’ research incorporates an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and learning about music cultures. Williams is Tlingit and is of the Decitaan clan and enrolled in the Carcross/Tagish First Nations and Tlingit/Haida, a federally recognized tribe. Williams’ 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 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 King Island Inupiat community of Alaska in which their entire music/dance repertoire was documented via audio/video recordings to establish a tribally-controlled archive.
Williams holds a joint appointment with Native American Studies at UNM.
Williams’ publications include “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. A Journal of the Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior (2005); a DVD documentary Nilgaq: 5th Annual Kingikmiut Dance Festival (2004).