On the Money
Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, left, and U.S. Treasurer Lynn Malerba
Early versions of the photo above ran on news sites around the world last December, after the U.S. Treasurer and Secretary of the Treasury traveled to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth, Texas, to show off their signatures on freshly printed $1 and $5 bills.
“Two women on the currency for the first time is truly momentous,” said Lynn Malerba ’08 MPA at the time. It was another first among many for the first female chief in modern history of the Mohegan Tribe and first Native American to serve as U.S. Treasurer. When we spoke with Malerba this summer, she was still feeling the import of that moment she’d shared with Janet Yellen, and also wanted to share an anecdote with us.
U.S. Treasurer and Mohegan Tribe Chief Lynn Malerba shares a moment with her family during a ceremonial swearing-in at the Cash Room of the Treasury Department September 12, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
It was, says Malerba,“amazing. Being with Secretary Yellen in that moment was very special. For two women and the first Indigenous person to be on the currency was really exciting. I mean, number one, she’s just phenomenal, right? She brings her humanity and her humility to work with her each and every day. So I really admire her.”
Malerba, of course, also inspires admiration among women and young girls, including her own granddaughter, whose kindergarten class was treated to a Native American history Zoom talk by the Treasurer not long after her appointment. “So she was this little celebrity in Milton, Mass.,” says Malerba.
Having watched her grandmother again making history as she signed the currency with Yellen, the 6-year-old took her teacher and school to task in March.
“She was highly insulted that they weren’t studying me for Women’s History Month,” says Malerba. “Rightly so,” she jokes, then can’t help but add, “How cute is that — right?”
For our conversation between Malerba and Sage Phillips ’22 (CLAS), ’24 MA, see Checking in with: The U.S. Treasurer