For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to break bread with family and loved ones, but for native people the holiday is forever associated with the legacy of violence wrought on indigenous communities since our country’s founding.
Shailene Woodley, who has been one of most high-profile advocates against the Dakota Access Pipeline, is now speaking out about the sanitization of American history in videos released on Thursday at Standing Rock reservation.
“Today is a day that many call Thanksgiving, and it’s a day where kids in elementary school in America are taught false narratives about our native brothers and sisters,” Woodley said, fighting back tears in an interview with TYT Politics.
The “Divergent” actress has joined thousands of activists in recent months calling for a permanent ban on an oil pipeline that would carry crude oil across sacred lands, potentially contaminating the population’s fresh water source and disturbing sacred grounds.
“From the time we’re little kids, we cut out in cardboard paper pictures of pilgrims and feasts and turkeys, and yet none of our children know the truth about not only what happened to Native Americans when Westerners decided to colonize this country, but what is still happening to Native Americans” she continued. “Thanksgiving was founded on a massacre and yet we’re here with cops and snipers with rubber bullets and I’m sick of it.”
Woodley, with the help of actress Jane Fonda, spent Thanksgiving at Standing Rock this year serving meals to protesters, who call themselves water protectors, to thank them for their tireless activism in the face of increasingly violent clashes with government forces and the harsh winter weather.
In October, Woodley and 26 others were arrested for criminal trespassing while protesting the pipeline in Sioux County. She documented her arrest on a Facebook Live video and has been uploading testimonials ever since.
The actress also released her own videos from the front lines of the protests on Thanksgiving Day and encouraged those watching to reflect on their own conceptions about the holiday and stand up for people who might not be so thankful.
Watch her Facebook Live below and click here to find out how you can help fight the Dakota Access Pipeline.