Describing herself as ‘The Master of Creating Extraordinary Lives’ on her motivational website and a doctor of fitness and nutrition, Lisa Christensen, a member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, has been drawing considerable criticism online for her support of President Trump and for creating an Red Carpet inaugural birthday celebration that will benefit Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women #MMIW.
The “Native Americans For President Trump” / President Donald J. Trump's Birthday eventis listed on her Facebook page and will be taking place from 2-5pm on Saturday, June 23, 2018 in Washington DC.
The red carpet event, which has ticket packages ranging from $100 to $700 is listed on its event pages as an ‘all-star program” that will bring “awareness to MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.)”
In addition to the festivities planned, Christiansen -- listed as 5th generation granddaughter of Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee Syllabary -- will give a motivational presentation which includes her life story.
The event also lauds Christiansen’s father Guyadahi, described as a great supporter of President Trump and an Elder in the Cherokee tribe. “He does not read, speak or write English. Elder Guyadahi is the only living monolingual Cherokee speaker. He will pray in Cherokee for our Presid(e)nt.”
In an interview with Indian Country Today, Lisa Christiansen said she believes everyone should respect the president.
“I do believe we need to respect the president no matter who it is,” said Christiansen. “We need to respect the position even if we don’t support them. I think that by going against him so hard and by not having any lines of communication, we are just creating a bigger problem.”
Christiansen said her main focus at the event is to bring awareness to MMIW. “When I was a child, my mother passed away when she was hitchhiking. My only focus is to bring awareness to MMIW. I also want to open the hearts and minds of Indian people.”
Christiansen’s efforts have not gone unnoticed on social media or the public. Many have accused her of hosting the event in poor taste due to the effort to benefit Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.
Johnnie Jay posted a screen capture of Christiansen’s tweet of the event along with a comment “Is (it) just me or is this in really bad taste considering Trump's intolerance and hate for Native people and who is this group the profits will be donated to in the name of #MMIW???? #NativeTwitter.”
Many responded in support of Jae.
“This asshat is a complete joke. Had a run in with her and Kaya months ago. Her mom is a famous activist who founded AIM, dontcha know. She also tweeted her tribal membership card, credit card to pay it, and birth certificate,” replied Twitter user wapshkankwet, responding to Christiansen’s prior support of Kaya Jones.
“Trump is attempting to dismantle our sovereignty and there are “Natives” celebrating his birthday AND tacking on MMIW?! Hahaha.” replied Twitter user Ali Watson.
Linda Sacks, a fellow citizen of the Cherokee Nation says she was flooded with thoughts when she first saw Christiansen’s event posted on social media.
“When I first saw a Native American’s for Trump event hosted by Christiansen, I personally felt exploited by the effort. Just the name Trump, he’s only been in office for just over a year and has done so much adversely. He used the name Pocahontas as an insult toward Senator Elizabeth Warren in front of code talkers. That was supposed to be their moment,” said Sacks.
Sacks’ family is related to the code talker Peter McDonald and she says she took the jab as verbal disrespect to her own family.
“He also shrunk Bears Ears, and approved DAPL and the Keystone pipeline right after becoming president. He is totally undermining our sovereignty.”
“Lisa Christiansen’s efforts make me feel sick and exploited … I have never felt violated to this degree. I feel a loss of words,” said Sacks.
Another member of the community to Christiansen is a woman who spoke to ICT on the condition of anonymity. “I find the whole thing beyond nauseating. She hijacked a movement to honor a serial abuser for MMIW. It is sad on the standpoint of abuse as 1 in 3 Native women are victims of sexaully assauly statistically. I can’t imagine celebrating Trump's birthday for any reason. But to raise money for something like this, they are just a proverbial Judas and a sell out to her people. Trump is a degenerate that only sees women as the p-word.”
Christiansen says that her efforts are targeted and she hopes to support three organizations, the Comanche Nation Family Assistance Shelter, the Marie Detty Youth & Family Service Center, and the United Keetoowah Band Of Cherokee Indians (Eastern Band) to include the high schools’ yearbook committee.
When asked about the allegations from women toward Trump, Christiansen says that she believes the accusations are private and should be judged accordingly.
“If someone says something negative, it is a private incident and accusations thrown out should be judged as such. I am not going to judge it, everyone has a past,” said Christensen. “When I met President Trump, he treated me with respect and kindness. He did the same to everyone around him.”
Christiansen also shared her support of President trump on Facebook on June 12th.
"I absolutely support President Donald J. Trump in most of what he does. He has proven time again he keeps promises, I am concerned how this affects my father, Tommy Wildcat’s mother, and so many of our elders.
I will be addressing this in D.C. This weekend/next week. While my primary focus evolved into bringing awareness to the Faces of MMIW / #MMIW it has now grown into bridging the gap of communication between our tribal nations elders and the current presidential administration.
I believe Donald J. Trump is on the right path by bringing CDIB carrying Native American women with lineal history on board, now we need to make certain they consult and communicate with the tribal elders for a better tomorrow while maintaining tribal sovereignty.
I also believe we must have some compromise if we hope to bridge the jurisdictional boundaries in order to protect Native American people as a whole, more specifically preventing missing and murdered indigenous women.
It is hard for the United States to step up to the plate and rule our murdered women on reservations as homicides when we have placed such strong jurisdictional powers within our own tribe making it a challenge to prosecute the perpetrator.
I believe we must maintain our sovereignty, I also believe we must make some compromises to protect our people and our future generations.
Communication is the key, trust is power."
The Cherokee Nation, the United Keetoowah Band Of Cherokee Indians, and the proposed recipients of the fundraising funds were either not available for comment or declined to comment to Indian Country Today.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling