Heather Tanana

Monday, July 31, 2023


5:30 pm MDT

Colorado River in Crisis: Learning from the Past to Protect the Future

head shot of Seminars at Steamboat speaker William Galston

Heather Tanana is highly trained in environmental law and public health, and as a member of the Navajo Nation is dedicated to promoting indigenous rights.  She has been asked to contribute to the water chapter for the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), which will analyze the effects of global change on the world’s natural environment, resources and social systems. The assessment, due in 2023, will be submitted to the President and Congress.

She is a visiting Professor at the University of California – Irvine School of Law and has become a nationally recognized researcher and educator specializing in the vexing questions at the junction of law, health and water policies.  In 2021 she received an award from the American Bar Association for “distinguished achievement in environmental law and policy” for her work including the 2021 report Universal Access to Clean Water for Tribes in the Colorado River Basin, for which she served as lead author.

She is also an associate faculty member focusing on health policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health.  She holds a B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College, a J.D. from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, and a Master’s of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health with a Certificate in American Indian Health.

Introductory remarks will be provided by Luke Runyon, KUNC Managing Editor and Reporter on the Colorado River Basin

Arrive early to this Seminar for a special screening of “Dividing the Waters: How the Colorado River Compact Transformed the Southwestern Frontier”

Researched, written and produced by Steamboat Springs High School Senior Wren Capra, this ten-minute film features experts on the Compact, a legislative frontier, that recently crossed its centennial and continues to create controversy today. Winner of numerous state & national awards including National Park Service Outstanding Entry; National Honorable Mention–June 2023 at National History Day (NHD) National Competition at the University of Maryland, College Park campus; Best Senior Project on Western History from Brigham Young University Charles Redd Center for the Humanities–April 2023 at University of Colorado at Denver NHD Colorado State Competition; 1st Place in Colorado State for Individual Senior Documentary–April 2023 at University of Colorado at Denver NHD Colorado State Competition; 1st Place in Mountain Region for Individual Senior Documentary–April 2023 in Summit County, CO

The film will run once at 4:55pm and again at 5:05pm for those wishing to arrive early.

Or alternatively you can watch the film here: 

To learn more about western water issues:


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