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Heather J. Tanana

Heather J. Tanana, JD, MPH

Academic Information

Departments Adjunct - Pediatrics

Academic Office Information

Heather Tanana, JD, MPH (Diné) is an Assistant Professor (Research) & Wallace Stegner Center Fellow at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. Heather is experienced in state, federal, and tribal courts and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. She also founded the Indian Law Section of the Utah State Bar Association. In recognition of her work related to Tribal communities, the environment, and public health, Heather has received recognition and awards from the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Section of the Utah State bar, the Utah Minority Bar Association, and the Environment, Energy, and Resources Section of the American Bar Association.

Heather is also Associate Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, where she works with the Center’s Training team on developing and teaching Institute courses and collaborates on health policy related work. She holds a Master of Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health - Johns Hopkins University, where she was inducted into the Delta Omega Public Health Honorary Society.

Heather’s research interests include exploring the overlay between environmental and health policy, promoting better practices in Indian child welfare, and criminal justice in Indian Country. She sits on the boards of the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake and Western Resource Advocates. She also volunteers her time on other working groups to promote diversity in the legal field, including the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law - Diversity and INclusion Task Force, Association of Aamerican Lawa Schools - Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples, and ABA Native American Resources Committee.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Heather Tanana (12/10/2021). Synching Science and Policy to Address Climate change in Tribal Communities. 36.
  2. Elizabeth Kronk Warner (07/25/2021). Indian Country Post-McGirt: Implications for Traditional Energy Development and Beyond. 45.
  3. Heather Tanana (06/17/2021). Water is Life: Law, Systemic Racism, and Water Security in Indian Country. Health Secur, 19.
  4. John Ruple (12/01/2020). NEPA at 50: An Empirical Analysis of NEPA in the Courts. 66.
  5. John Ruple (07/2020). Debunking the Myths Behind the NEPA Process. 35.

Book Chapter

  1. Elizabeth Kronk Warner (07/2021). Law of Environmental Protection, Chapter 24 Climate Change, Tribal Sections 24:26-24:30. Environmental Law Institute.


  1. Heather Tanana et al (02/01/2022). Recommendations for Operational, Administrative, Policy, and Regulatory Reform. Water & Tribes Initiative. Water & Tribes Initiative.
  2. Heather Tanana (05/2021). Universal Access to Clean Water for Tribes in the Colorado River Basin. Water & Tribes Initiative. Water & Tribes Initiative.
  3. Heather Tanana (03/2021). Beyond the Pandemic: Historical Infrastructure, Funding, and Data Access Challenges in Indian country. Public Health Law Watch (2). Public Health Law Watch.
  4. Aila Hoss (08/2020). Upholding Tribal Sovereignty and Promoting Tribal Public Health Capacity During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Public Health Law Watch (1). Public Health Law Watch.