Grace: Mohegan chairwoman transitions to tribal chief post
"Lynn Malerba had a "little" announcement for her best friend over dinner recently. She had just been selected as the next chief for life of the Mohegan Tribe.

"She told me so nonchalantly," says Donna Prue. "She lays it on you like it's no big deal. She said it was an honor and she couldn't refuse."

Prue met Malerba at the Hartford Hospital School of Nursing nearly 40 years ago and wondered if anybody could really be that nice.

"When I got to know her, I said, 'Oh my God, she really is that nice,' " Prue remembers.

The two women have been through many of life's milestones together - Malerba says her husband Paul had to pass the "Donna test" before they could get married - and Prue says even though Malerba is the chief, to her she will still be "just Lynn."

Malerba grew up in Uncasville, where streets and schools are named after her tribal ancestors. She and her husband live here today and regularly host Sunday dinner for the family. She says she loves to be part of the tribe's "living history."

On a recent sunny afternoon, she stopped in at the tribe's modest museum on Church Lane and lingered in front of photographs of her mother and aunts and her great grandfather, Burrill Fielding, also known as Chief Matagha.

"This is our place," she says, flashing her fabulous smile."

Get the Story:
Minding the past, planning for the future (Grace Magazine / The New London Day 6/2)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Women play important role in Mohegan Tribe (3/8)
Malerba makes history as new chief of Mohegan Tribe (3/5)
Mohegan Tribe chooses first woman chief since 1600s (3/4)
Column: Lynn Malerba makes history for Mohegans (12/14)
First woman chosen to lead Mohegan Tribe (10/6)