The Wallace Stegner Center and Heather Tanana to receive ABA SEER Awards

Nov 17, 2021 | Faculty

Portrait of Heather TananaProfessor Heather Tanana was selected to receive the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy. This award recognizes individuals or organizations that have distinguished themselves in environmental law and policy, contributing significant leadership in improving the substance, process, or understanding of environmental protection and sustainable development in the United States.

“The pandemic brought national attention to challenges that tribal communities have been dealing with for decades—issues that my own extended family has experienced, such as limited health services and lack of water access,” said Tanana. “I’m honored to receive recognition for my work related to tribes and water (in)security, but I could not have accomplished any of it without the support of my family and the Stegner Center, as well as the collaboration of my colleagues at the Water & Tribes Initiative. You go further when you work together.”

Tanana is a steadfast advocate for environmental justice and the rights of Indigenous peoples. A citizen of the Navajo Nation, Heather holds a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Public Health degree. She chairs the board of the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake and volunteers her time on other work groups to promote diversity in the legal field, including the Rocky Mineral Law Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Association of American Law Schools Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples, and American Bar Association Native American Resources Committee


The Wallace Stegner Center was selected to receive the ABA SEER Award for Excellence in Environmental, Energy, and Resources Stewardship. This award recognizes individuals, entities, and organizations that have made significant accomplishments or demonstrated recognized leadership in the environment, energy, and natural resources legal area.

Founded in 1994 by University Distinguished Professor Robert Keiter, the Stegner Center offers students one of the top 10 environmental and natural resources law programs in the country with a J.D. Certificate and LL.M. degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. The Stegner Center also maintains an Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program and a Research Program, and regularly offers an array of timely public programs.

Wallace Stegner Center Professor of Law and Director of the Stegner Center Robert Keiter expressed, “On behalf of my Stegner Center colleagues at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, I’m honored to accept the SEER award for excellence. It is a fitting tribute to their tireless efforts—through research, teaching, public programs, and dispute resolution training—to promote constructive dialogue and creative solutions to the complex environmental and natural resource challenges confronting us at the international, national, and local levels.”