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Bill Williams

Bill Williams

Bill Williams was born in 1937 to Susie and Lavine Williams at the late Joe Beetus' fish camp twelve miles above Hughes, Alaska. His Denaakk'e name is Huds deh odnee, which means "a voice coming from a distance." He grew up in Hughes with his sisters, Alice Ambrose, Rita Koyukuk and Margaret Williams and his brothers, Ralph Williams, George Linus and James Williams. The family moved with the four seasons, and when his father was home from the Utopia mining camp, he would take Bill hunting, trapping and fishing and taught him to live off the land. In the winter, they lived in a cabin 35 miles below Hughes where they would trap winter animals, such as beaver. Due to this dependence on subsistence, Bill had limited school education. He went to elementary school in Hughes for a while but had to go back to camp, and finished eighth grade in summer school through correspondence. Bill started work when he was 18 years old at the Hog River mining camp, and in 1966 recieved training in welding in Los Angeles through the BIA relocation program and in 1970 in heavy equipment operation in Palmer, Alaska. In 1962, Bill married Madeline Attla of Huslia, and he worked at mines and other jobs during the summers to support his family, but they continued to live that subsistence lifestyle that he grew up with. As a member of 302 Operators Union, he worked on the North Slope during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and worked for the city of Hughes as the airport manager/operator for 19 years, until his retirement in October 2016. His other occupations included, truck driver, firefighter, fisherman, sled builder, boat and log home builder, cultural teacher, and sprint dog musher. Bill was known for his traditional knowledge and skills, especially sled building, and eagerly passed on what he knew to the younger generation, emphasizing the need for them to get a good education. Bill Williams passed away in 2017 at age 79.

Date of Birth:
Sep 26, 1937
Date of Death:
Mar 30, 2017
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