Tribal Economies

Biden names first Native woman as U.S. treasurer, with signature on money

The U.S. Treasury building is seen in Washington, September 29, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

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ROSEBUD, South Dakota, June 21 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday his intention to appoint lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe Marilynn Malerba as U.S. Treasurer, marking the first time the signing of an aboriginal woman will appear on US currency.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is visiting the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota on Tuesday, also announced the creation of a new Treasury Office of Tribal and Native Affairs, which will report to the Treasurer and administer tribal relations. .

Biden’s nomination of Malerba will also allow Yellen’s signature to be added to US currency, as that was prohibited without a US treasurer in place. Dollar notes have been printed since Yellen took office last year with the signature of former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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The appointment helps narrow a long list of unfilled and unconfirmed leadership positions at the Treasury.

The position of treasurer has been vacant since January 2020, when Jovita Carranza left to become a small business administrator in the Trump administration. The US Treasurer directly oversees the US Mint, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the storage of approximately $270 billion in gold at Fort Knox and is a key liaison with the Federal Reserve.

Malerba’s appointment to this position no longer needs to be confirmed by the US Senate.

“With this announcement, we commit even more deeply to Indian Country,” Yellen said in a prepared speech to deliver on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. “Chief Malerba will expand our unique relationship with tribal nations, continuing our joint efforts to support the development of tribal economies and economic opportunity for tribal citizens.”

Malerba, who has had a long career as a registered nurse, has been chief of the Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribe since 2010 and previously chaired its tribal council and served as its executive director of health and human services, according to the website. Mohegan.

Treasury said Malerba joined Yellen at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation on Tuesday, where Yellen discussed the impact of some $30 billion in federal COVID-19 assistance to tribal governments.

Yellen’s visit to the Rosebud Sioux reservation marks the first time a treasury secretary has visited a tribal nation — department officials said they found no record of a previous visit.

Yellen visited programs in Rosebud that use nearly $200 million in U.S. bailout funds from last year, including a manufactured home factory aimed at easing a severe housing shortage among the 35,000 members of the tribe.

Yellen and Malerba said the new Tribal Affairs Office of the Treasury aims to reduce the chronic fiscal and financial inequities tribes face that prevent them from attracting investment. Read more

The Treasury also announced on Tuesday that it had approved the tribe’s plan to use more than $160,000 to upgrade its broadband internet infrastructure as part of a $10 billion broadband fund for governments. state, local and tribal. Read more

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Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Christopher Cushing

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