Joe Williams, Jr. was born and raised in Saxman, Alaska and is of Tlingit decent and is a from the Eagle Tribe within the Tlingit Tribe. He graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1963, and went on to Alaska Pacific University in 1979, previously known as Alaska Methodist University (AMU). He is the first graduate of AMU. He received a bachelor’s degree in business. Joe has been married to his wife for 43 years. He has 6 children with 7 granddaughters and 2 grandsons.
Joe has a wealth of knowledge of Alaska, Ketchikan, Saxman, and about his own Tlingit culture. He has owned and operated Where the Eagle Walks; a historical walking tour and lecture company in Ketchikan for 28-seasons. This walking tour has expanded over time into lectures on the Tlingit culture and other specialty tours.
Joe has been elected to be the first Tlingit Alaskan Native to be elected as Mayor of Ketchikan Gateway Borough; he has also served as the City of Saxman Mayor making him the first elected official to hold both the Borough and City Mayoral positions in the State of Alaska. Joe has also served on many other boards including Tribal President for Saxman IRA for 12 years, Vice-President of the National Congress of American Indian for eight years, councilmember for 12 years for the City of Saxman, Alaska, and served six years on the Board of Directors for Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority representing Saxman, Alaska.