Malerba used her maiden name — Roberge — as part of her signature on U.S. currency. She reflected on her family’s personal story in doing so. “My parents raised seven children with so much love but a lot of financial hardship, and they struggled so greatly to provide for us but they did an amazing job,” Malerba said. “Imagine, now their name is on the currency when they found it so difficult to have any in their lifetime and so they are with me today.” Malerba’s position as Treasurer of the United States is more than symbolic. In her role, she will oversee the newly created Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the department. She also serves as a key adviser to Yellen on a range of matters at Treasury. “We will build on the successes of these past two years to ensure that policy reflects Native voices and Native communities,” Malerba said at the ceremony. “We know that one size does not fit all. We know that when tribal leaders determine their priorities in concert with their communities, we serve our people properly with respect for our cultural traditions.” “We know that when barriers to economic development are eliminated, tribal communities will thrive and prosper,” she added. “We know, when there is tribal economic development, our local and state communities prosper as well.”
For the first time in U.S. history, the signatures of a Native woman and a female Secretary of the Treasury will soon be seen on the nation’s currency.— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) September 12, 2022
Chief Lynn Malerba participated in a ceremonial signing with @BEPgov today after being sworn in as U.S. Treasurer by @SecYellen. pic.twitter.com/JfPOeJ5AFc
Mary Peltola (Yup’ik) will be sworn into the 117th Congress today!— indianz.com (@indianz) September 13, 2022
Peltola (D) is making history as the 1st Alaska Native woman in Congress. She is representing Alaska's sole Congressional district in US House of Representatives.
Peltola will cast first votes after swearing in. pic.twitter.com/YXRrEv1Y5m
For Peltola, it is indeed a beginning. She’s already staffed her brand new office with experienced aides and has landed a seat on the powerful House Committee on Natural Resources, the legislative panel with jurisdiction over Indian issues that also oversees a number of areas of significance to Alaska and Alaska Native people. “It is the honor of my life to represent Alaska, a place my elders and ancestors have called home for thousands of years, where to this day many people of my community carry forward traditions of hunting and fishing,” Peltola observed. “I am humbled and deeply honored to be the first Alaska Native elected to this body, the first woman to hold Alaska’s house seat,” she continued. “But to be clear, I represent all Alaskans. I will work every day to make all Alaskans proud that they have entrusted me to carry their voices here.” Judging by the huge crowd that showed up to a reception in D.C. following the historic swearing-in, it’s not just Alaskans that are proud of Peltola. Everyone from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, to Secretary Deb Haaland, the first woman to lead the Department of the Interior, attended the event.
“As the first Alaska Native (Yu’pik) woman to serve as a member of Congress, and on the Natural Resources Committee, Representative Peltola is making history”: Rep. Mary Peltola (D), 1st Alaska Native woman in Congress, is joining the House Committee on Natural Resources! @NRDems pic.twitter.com/wEh8Ne3Nt8— indianz.com (@indianz) September 14, 2022
Also joining the celebration were more than a dozen members of Peltola’s family, including her spouse, Eugene “Gene” R. Peltola, Jr., and their seven children. Her husband, who is known as “Buzzy” in Native circles, is Yup’ik and Tlingit and recently retired as director for the Alaska region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Two of Peltola’s grandchildren and two of her sisters were in town as well for the occasion. “I couldn’t do this without their love and support,” Peltola said on the floor of the House. She closed her speech with words of gratitude — Quyana cakneq. But as Peltola, whose Yup’ik name is Akalleq, carries out her duties in the nation’s capital, she also must continue her campaign at home. She’s on the ballot in Alaska this November, hoping to secure a full term in office as the state’s sole delegate in the House. For now, the chamber counts a record six Native people in office for the remainder of the 117th Congress. In addition to Peltola and Davids, the Democratic majority includes Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii), who is Native Hawaiian. The Republican side consists of Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-New Mexico), also Cherokee.
Of all of the amazing things that have happened over the last few weeks, nothing has been as great as being able to share this day in D.C. with my family. I couldn’t have gotten this far without them♥️ pic.twitter.com/ecP0VlM3vs— Mary Peltola (@MaryPeltola) September 14, 2022
It has taken 233 years for the U.S. Congress to be fully represented by this country’s indigenous peoples.— Congressman Kaiali‘i Kahele (@RepKahele) September 14, 2022
Tonight, a Native American, a Native Alaskan & a Native Hawaiian are sitting members of the people’s House.
Welcome U.S. Representative Peltola to the 117th Congress! 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/AxJ8MH7aLQ
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