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Malerba of CT sworn in as first Native American U.S. Treasurer

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Manuel Balce Ceneta
Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen swears-in Lynn Malerba, as the Treasurer of the United States at the Treasury Department, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 in Washington. Malerba becomes the first Native American to serve as Treasurer of the United States.

Marilynn Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe, makes history as the first Native American to serve as U.S. Treasurer.

Malerba was sworn in on Monday in a ceremony in Washington, DC. She was appointed to the role by President Joe Biden in June.

Malerba will also oversee the Office of Tribal and Native Affairs, which will serve as the hub for tribal policy and communication. She said tribes have advocated for the creation of the office for years. It will aid the federal government’s growing relationship with tribal nations.

“My appointment is a promise kept. My appointment demonstrates respect for tribal sovereignty and a clear understanding of the political relationship between the United States and all of our native nations,” Malerba said.

Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe James Gessner Jr. said the appointment is an honor for the tribe. In a statement released, Gessner said the Mohegan Tribe has benefited tremendously from the leadership of Chief Malerba.

“We are thrilled that she will now bring her expertise, energy and compassion to the role of Treasurer of the United States,” said Gessner. “Her appointment is another positive step by the Biden administration to show inclusiveness with Native Americans and ensure we have a seat at the table of federal government.”

The historic nomination also means it will be the first time a Native American’s signature will appear on U.S. currency. Malerba made history over a decade ago when she became the first female chief in the Mohegan Tribe’s modern history.

Jeniece Roman is WSHU's Report for America corps member who writes about Indigenous communities in Southern New England and Long Island, New York.