Tanana joins Stegner Center as a research associate

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment welcomes Heather Tanana as a research associate.

Tanana, a 2010 alumna of the S.J. Quinney College of Law, graduated with high honors and a certificate in environmental and natural resources law.  She holds a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University, where she is an adjunct professor and teaches a course on American Indian Health Policy.

Tanana, a member of the Navajo Nation, founded the Indian Law section of the Utah State Bar Association. 

“We’ve worked with Heather on energy policy and jurisdictional issues in the past, and we are very excited about the opportunity to synergies between environmental law, Indian law, and public health law.  We’re also very excited to have her working with our incoming cohort of student research associates,” said John Ruple, a research professor at the College of Law.

“Heather has a wealth of experience with Indian law and in public health law that will allow the Stegner Center to broaden our research efforts.  Students will also have increased opportunities to engage in legal research and scholarship under Heather apt mentorship,” he said.

Tanana said she’s excited to return to the College of Law in a research and mentorship capacity.

“I’m excited to join the Stegner Center and contribute to the innovate research and policy work being conducted. One of the primary reasons I obtained a joint J.D./MPH was to address environmental issues in Native communities. I was born in Montezuma Creek, which is located in Southern Utah and part of the Navajo reservation. Like many tribes, the Navajo Nation continues to face a myriad of challenges—from increasing access to water to cleaning up abandoned uranium mines—that each have a profound impact on the health and general well-being of its community. As part of the center, I will be able to work on environmental health policy issues in Indian Country, in addition to assisting on current projects, including exploring the nexus between law and science,” she said.

Robert Keiter, director of the Stegner Center, noted the institution is thrilled to welcome Tanana to the College of Law.

“The Stegner Center is pleased that Heather Tanana, an accomplished College of Law graduate who is coming off a federal court clerkship, is joining the research program, where she will be addressing current public land, natural resources, and Native American legal issues,” said Keiter.