Biden Will Appoint the First Native American to Be Treasurer of the United States
Chief Marilynn Malerba will oversee the newly established Office of Tribal and Native Affairs.
President Biden will tap the first Native American to hold the position of Treasurer of the United States.
The White House announced on Tuesday morning that the president intends to appoint Marilynn Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe, to hold the position, which oversees the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Fort Knox and is a key liaison to the Federal Reserve. Additionally, Malerba will be a senior advisor for community development and public engagement to the Treasury secretary and oversee the newly established Office of Tribal and Native Affairs.
“This is an historic appointment,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “Her leadership and experience will deepen our commitment to help expand economic opportunities for all Tribal communities.”
Malerba said she is “honored and humbled by Secretary Yellen and the Biden Administration’s commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard by Treasury as we work together to create an equitable and just society.”
Before becoming chief of the Mohegan Tribe, she was chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, served in Tribal government as Executive Director of Health and Human Services, and was director of Cardiology and Pulmonary Services at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. Also, Malerba serves currently as a member of the Treasury Department’s Tribal Advisory Committee.
The new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs will coordinate tribal relations throughout Treasury. Initially, the office will be staffed by employees who are currently in the Office of Recovery Programs’ Tribal Policy and Engagement Team, which the department established last year. The new office “will work across Treasury’s portfolio on issues related to Tribal nations, and Treasury intends to work with Congress to ensure this office has the resources it needs to carry out its mission,” said a fact sheet from the department.
Also on Tuesday, Yellen is visiting the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which marks the first time a Treasury secretary has visited a Tribal nation. Yellen will highlight how the over $30 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan are supporting Tribal communities and increasing economic opportunities for them.
Other actions the Biden administration has taken to support Native communities since coming into office have involved infrastructure projects, education for children, protecting Tribal lands from climate change and more. Additionally, Deb Haaland, Biden’s Interior Department secretary, who was confirmed last year, is the first Native American to lead the department.