Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba is used to breaking glass ceilings in her successful career. The first female chief of the Mohegan tribe in modern history will also become the first descendant of the original Native Americans to head the US Treasury. She will run the Mint, the dollar bills will bear her signature, and she will hold the keys to Fort Knox, the gigantic warehouse where the United States keeps most of its gold reserves.
Malerba became the 18th chief of the Mohegan tribe on August 15, 2010, a life position held by the Council of Elders. Prior to becoming chief, she was chairperson of the Tribal Council and worked in Tribal Government as the head of health and human services. Lynn previously had a long career as a nurse. She has a doctorate in Applied Nursing, an honorary doctorate in Science and Letters, and a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Married, mother of two daughters and grandmother of three granddaughters, Malerba will also have among her responsibilities the creation of the new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs of the Treasury. She has been showered with praise for her after her appointment. Leadership, integrity, training, tact, respect, professionalism are among the most outstanding virtues of the new treasurer of the United States.
The governor of Connecticut, the state where his tribe’s reservation is located, has highlighted “his commitment to public service” and how he has led his tribe with “dignity and respect” it’s a statement. California Senator Alex Padilla highlights his “leadership” and how he has contributed to expanding economic opportunities for tribal communities. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been “excited about this historic appointment” on his Twitter account.
Those who know her also highlight her integrity, training and her unique life experience. “She is an empathetic person, who cares about people and who will always focus on the public good in her new role,” says Joe Courtney, congressman for her state, in a public statement.
President of the United Tribes of the South and East, Chief Kirk Francis summarizes: “Chief Malerba embodies the highest ideals of leadership. She leads with compassion, tact, love, integrity, professionalism and respect for all people, while she fervently advocates for the advancement of tribal sovereignty and the fulfillment of fiduciary duties.”
An economically successful tribe
Malerba belongs to one of the Indian tribes that inhabited what is now the State of Connecticut, on the banks of the Thames River, and where the tribal reservation is today. The origins of the tribe are also traced in what are now the States of Delaware and New York. At the time of colonization, in the 17th century, in the midst of the struggle for land by the new settlers, the tribe was divided between those who preferred to fight the English and those who chose to collaborate with them. Chief Uncas prevailed and collaborated with the English in defeating the Pequot, thanks to which the Mohegans signed the Treaty of Hartford in 1685, which recognized their independence. However, the settlers did not respect this agreement and in the 18th century they seized their land without compensation. Much of the population adapted and the tribe was on the verge of losing its identity.
The tribe reorganized in the late 20th century and filed a federal land claim, seeking to repossess land that the state of Connecticut had illegally sold. As part of the agreement, the Mohegan Nation gained federal recognition from the United States Government in 1994.
The establishment of the reserve also allowed them to open the Mohegan Sun casino in 1996 and generate income for the population through gambling. The resources obtained have allowed the Mohegans to buy sports clubs and expand their gaming business. It is the first tribe to own a Las Vegas casino and a tribal company owns a casino hotel in Atlantic City, the gaming capital of the US East Coast. In a sign of the changing times, each Tribal Council member is also a member of the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment board of directors.
Malerba has contributed to the economic success of the Mohegan tribe during her tenure as chief. “The Mohegan Tribe and its members have benefited greatly from Chief Lynn Malerba’s leadership,” said Tribal Council Chairman James Gessner Jr.
Raúl Grijalva, congressman for Arizona and president of the Natural Resources Commission, points out that for Malerba “it is not uncommon to break barriers and make history.” “For the first time, we will be able to hold a dollar bill and see the signature of a Native American who represents the oldest office of the financial institution of our federal government,” he stresses. in a statement on its website.
Malerba’s appointment will also allow, for the first time, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to affix her signature to the dollar bills that are issued. The bills are always signed by the two people who occupy those positions: secretary of the Treasury or treasurer. In this case, both are women. But Yellen has had to wait for Biden to appoint treasurer to be able to sign. In fact, she already stamped her signature more than a year ago, but it has not yet been possible to make a print run of the new banknotes.
The first issue of notes by each Secretary of the Treasury is usually celebrated with a special ceremony. There are always eyes ready to criticize the signature or even the clothing with which the act is attended. The current bills are signed by former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who was teased about it.