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President Biden appoints 1st Treasurer of Native Americans

WASHINGTON – A Native American has been appointed US Treasurer, a historic first.

President Joe Biden’s nomination of Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba on Tuesday comes as his administration establishes an office for tribal and native affairs at the Treasury Department, overseen by the US Treasurer.

The Treasurer’s duties include overseeing the US Mint, serving as liaison to the Federal Reserve, and overseeing the Treasury Department’s Office of Consumer Policy. The Treasurer’s signature appears on US currency.

Malerba, the lifelong chief of the Mohegan tribe, previously worked as a registered nurse and has held various capacities in the tribal government, according to the tribe’s website. The tribe’s reservation is on the River Thames in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“For the first time in history, a tribal leader and the name of a local woman will be the signature on our currency,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a note prepared ahead of the announcement.

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“Chief Malerba will expand our unique relationship with tribal nations and continue our joint efforts to support the development of tribal economies and economic opportunities for tribal people,” Yellen said.

Yellen was scheduled to visit the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Tuesday, the first time a Treasury Secretary has visited a tribal nation. She is expected to focus on how the American rescue plan has impacted tribal communities.

The relief package provided more than $30 billion to tribal governments, some of which oversee the country’s poorest communities.

For example, the US government estimates that 59% of Rosebud Sioux Tribal households live in poverty. Indigenous communities have also suffered the brunt of waves of COVID-19-related deaths and Medication overdose.

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Biden, a Democrat, has taken several steps to show his commitment to tribal nations, including appointing Deb Haaland as the first Native American to lead the Interior Department.

Haaland is reckoning with the US government’s role in Native American boarding schools, which rob children of their cultures and identities.

On Wednesday, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Interior Department’s report on its investigation into the federal government’s past oversight of Native American boarding schools.

Biden also issued the first presidential proclamation Indigenous Peoples Daywith the intention of refocusing the federal holiday, previously dedicated to the explorer Christopher Columbus, towards an appreciation of the indigenous people.

“It is especially important that our native voices are respected,” Malerba said in a statement. “This appointment underscores this government’s commitment to doing just that. I look forward to serving our communities as treasurer and for the work ahead.”

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/21/president-biden-nominates-1st-native-american-us-treasurer/ President Biden appoints 1st Treasurer of Native Americans

Sarah Y. Kim

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