Emma Hildebrand was born in Northway, Alaska where she was raised in a semi-subsistence lifestyle. Her mother, a Koyukon Athabascan raised in a completely traditional subsistence lifestyle, taught her to bead and skin sew from the age of seven. Hildebrand’s early work included medallion necklaces, barrettes, baby and adult moccasins, and earrings, most of which were gifted to family members on special occasions.
Hildebrand received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For 17 years, she held the position of CEO of Northway's ANCSA Corporation, Northway Natives, Inc.
Now based in Anchorage, Hildebrand has been a practicing artist and teacher of Alaska Native arts for over twenty years. She specializes in the techniques of porcupine quilling and caribou tufting, cultural knowledge she enjoys passing on to others through her work as an educator.
In 2011, she was honored as one of Alaska's Living Cultural Treasures by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. In 2020, she was the recipient of a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award.