On October 10th, Indigenous People's Day, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested in North Dakota protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline for crude oil that poses environmental risks and annexes indigenous peoples' land. The Fault in Our Stars star pleaded not guilty to criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot, and wrote in Time about her experience and the issue.
She first explains where she was and what she was doing:
I was in North Dakota, standing in solidarity, side-by-side with a group of over 200 water protectors, people who are fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
People who carry a rainbow of colors on their skin. People who gathered together because they realize that if we don’t begin taking genuine steps to protect our precious resources—our soil, our water, our essential elements—we will not have a healthy or thriving planet to pass on to future generations.
Woodley then explains how Americans have betrayed the Native population, appropriating their culture when it's fun while ignoring their needs.
We wear their heritage, their sacred totems, as decoration and in fashion trends, failing to honor their culture. 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.
She dives into how troubling it is that it took her, a non-Native celebrity, to draw attention to this important issue.
Treaties are broken. Land is stolen. Dams are built. Reservations are flooded. People are displaced.
Yet we fail to notice. We fail to acknowledge. We fail to act.
So much so that it took me, a white non-native woman being arrested on Oct 10th in North Dakota, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to bring this cause to many people’s attention. And to the forefront of news publications around the world.
The day I was detained, 26 others had to dress in orange as well, as they were booked into the Morton County jail. Did you hear about them?
Twenty-six men and women who put their livelihoods on the line, to protect their children, your children and my future children.
Twenty-six men and women who realize that millions of people depend on the Missouri River for drinking water.
Read the whole piece over at Time.