President Joe Biden will appoint Marilynn Malerba as treasurer of the United States, making the lifetime chief of the Mohegan Tribe the first Native American to hold the position, the White House announced on Tuesday.

The appointment means that for the first time in US history a Tribal leader and Native American woman's signature will appear on the nation's currency, the Treasury Department said in a news release.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is set to visit the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota later Tuesday, the first time in history that a Treasury secretary will visit a Tribal nation, according to the department.

Malerba will directly oversee the US Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and Fort Knox and will serve as a liaison with the Federal Reserve. She will be a senior adviser to Yellen and will lead a newly created Office of Tribal and Native Affairs within the US Treasury.

The new office will coordinate Tribal relations across the Treasury Department and will include staff focused on communicating directly with Tribal nations, the department said.

"I am deeply honored that Chief Malerba will serve as the nation's Treasurer and spearhead the department's new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs. This is an historic appointment," Yellen said in a news release. "Her leadership and experience will deepen our commitment to help expand economic opportunities for all Tribal communities."

During Yellen's trip to the Rosebud Indian Reservation on Tuesday, the secretary is expected to highlight how funds from the Covid-19 relief bill are being used to support the Tribe's economic recovery from the pandemic. Yellen will meet with residents who received funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance program and will speak with Tribal leaders about expanding affordable housing.

Malerba became the first woman to serve as chief of the Mohegan Tribe in 2010, a lifetime appointment made by the Tribe's Council of Elders. Malerba previously served as the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee. Before becoming chief, Malerba served as the chairwoman of the Tribal Council and also served in Tribal Government as Executive Director of Health and Human Services. Malerba also has worked as a registered nurse and was the director of cardiology and pulmonary services at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

She currently serves as a member of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee, which advises Yellen on "significant matters related to the taxation of Indians, the training of Internal Revenue Service field agents, and the provisions of training and technical assistance to Native American financial officers," the White House says.

"I am 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," Malerba said in a news release by the Treasury Department. "It is especially important that our Native voices are respected. This appointment underscores this Administration's commitment to doing just that. I am excited to serve our communities as Treasurer and for the work ahead."


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