Mohegan Tribe Chief Malerba Becomes First Native American Treasurer of the United States

Chief Malerba (second from the right) with NAFOA Board Members, President Cristina Danforth (farthest left) and Secretary Melanie Benjamin (farthest right). 

June 21, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC —Today, in an historic move, the United States Department of the Treasury names Lifetime Chief of the Mohegan Tribe Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba as the new Treasurer of the United States. 

Chief Malerba is the first Native American in history to hold the Treasurer position in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the highest position to be held by a Native American within the Department. The Treasurer oversees the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Treasurer also serves as a liaison with the Federal Reserve and as a key advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen.

“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we welcome the first ever Native American Treasurer of the United States. Chief Malerba has demonstrated a strong lifelong commitment to supporting the growth of tribal economies. She has been an active and instrumental member of NAFOA for many years, and we look forward to continuing to work with her to support the needs of Indian Country.”

— Cristina Danforth (Oneida Nation), Board President, NAFOA

Her appointment is especially important in representing the interest of Native American tribes and advancing efforts for tribal economic development. The critical role of the Treasury to Indian Country has been highlighted since the pandemic. Chief Malerba’s experience working with the Tribal Treasury Advisory Committee (“TTAC”) on issues of dual taxation, pensions, general welfare exclusion programs, and tribal tax priorities will help Secretary Yellen to ensure that the U.S. economy drives opportunity for all Americans. The need for greater familiarity with Indian Country was a key takeaway in a 2021 report by the General Accounting Office. Chief Malerba is an ideal candidate for this position.  

NAFOA has been privileged to work with Chief Malerba. The Mohegan Tribe has been a NAFOA Member Tribe for over 10 years, since February of 2012. Chief Malerba has been featured as a speaker in a number of NAFOA Conferences, including most recently, the 39th Annual NAFOA Conference in 2021. In 2019, she was appointed to the TTAC, an advisory committee of seven tribal leaders created by the General Welfare Exclusion Act in 2014 with a broad mandate to “advise the Secretary on matters relating to the taxation of Indians”. At its implementation, the TTAC selected NAFOA to provide technical assistance to the committee.

“NAFOA extends a heartfelt congratulations to Chief Malerba. Her experience and leadership – within the Mohegan Tribe, in Indian Country, and within the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee – makes her an excellent choice for Treasurer of the United States. We are confident that she will continue to do great work for Indian Country and all of the United States.”

— Melanie Benjamin (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), Board Secretary, NAFOA

NAFOA congratulates Chief Malerba on her historic appointment. We are confident her leadership within the Department of the Treasury will provide significant positive lasting impacts on tribal economies and all of Indian Country.

Bettina Gonzalez, Director of Communications



NAFOA launched over four decades ago as the Native American Finance Officers Association to highlight the role of tribal finance in fostering economic opportunities. NAFOA has grown along with tribal economies over the last 40 years to be advocates of sound economic and fiscal policy and developers of innovative training programs in financial management to build the financial and economic skills of the next generation, and convenes tribal leadership, experienced professionals, and economic partners to meet the challenges of economic growth and change. Through its work in growing tribal economies and strengthening tribal finance NAFOA supports the advancement of independent and culturally vibrant American Indian and Alaska Native communities. To learn more about NAFOA, visit the website


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