Shailene Woodley Opens Up About Her Arrest In Powerful Plea To Protect Native Americans

The actress was charged while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline Oct. 10.

More than a week after Shailene Woodley was arrested on Oct. 10 while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Sioux County, North Dakota, the actress has given her first full statement about the incident. 

Woodley, who was charged with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot with 26 other individuals, wrote about what was supposed to be a peaceful protest, in an essay for Time magazine. 

“I was in North Dakota, standing side by side with Native Americans,” the “Divergent” actress wrote. “You know, those who were here before us. Well, guess what, America? They’re still here. And they are still fighting the good fight.” 

Woodley outlined how the Native Americans with whom she was protesting are so often silenced and jailed and yet receive no attention from the outside world. Until, of course, using their history in some way benefits us. 

“We wear their heritage, their sacred totems, as decoration and in fashion trends, failing to honor their culture,” she wrote. “Headdresses, feathers, arrows. Moccasins, sage, beadwork. You know what I’m talking about, Coachella. Walking around the flea market this weekend, I can’t even tell you how many native references I saw being used in a way that feeds our western narrative.” 

The 24-year-old, who used Facebook Live to record her arrest, was released from jail on Monday and pleaded not guilty to her charges. Before the incident, she often spoke of her support for the people of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as the pipeline could threaten their water supply as well as sacred sites. Woodley wrote about the dangers of a federal appeals court allowing construction of the pipeline to continue and the widespread affect it may have on millions of Americans. 

“When the Dakota Access Pipeline breaks (and we know that too many pipelines do), millions of people will have crude-oil-contaminated water. I know it is easy to be apathetic or detached from the reality that fossil fuel contamination could actually affect you and the ones you love,” the actress said. “But hear me loud and clear: If you are a human who requires water to survive, then this issue directly involves you.” 

To read the rest of Woodley’s piece, head here.  



North Dakota Pipeline Protests