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Shailene Woodley on How to Be an Indigenous Ally (Video)

“It’s time for people to decide what side of history they want to be on now.”
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Shailene Woodley is a stand-up soul. The highly-regarded star of the Divergent series has been speaking out on behalf of the NoDAPL movement for several months; she’s lent physical and financial support, walked in solidarity with the water protectors, and put her future on the line with her prayerful opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline project that resulted in her arrest. On Thursday, she was once again present at Standing Rock, this time to host a celebratory feast for the water protectors at Standing Rock Community High School. She has been a welcome, respectful presence throughout this weekend, which will culminate in a fund-raising concert by Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt tonight, November 27, at the Prairie Knights Pavilion in Fort Yates.

In a recent interview for Indian Country Today Media Network, conducted by Tracy Rector of Longhouse Media, Woodley speaks about what it means to be an indigenous ally. Throughout the video, she expresses her awe and admiration for the water protectors and how they are handling their hardships with grace. She also talks about maintaining the proper perspective for an ally to maintain: “We’re not even here to help,” she explains. “We’re hear to support.”

A key role for Woodley has been to use her high profile in the media to speak truthfully about what she has experienced and seen, which readers of ICTMN know to be wildly at odds with the official position of DAPL officials and statements by the local Sheriffs. To her, the point of view of these authorities and people who may believe them has to be understood in the context of what she refers to as a “false narrative”—the white-washing of history and misinterpretation of the U.S.’s historic relationship with Native nations.

She points to other pipelines in the works, expressing astonishment at four such projects in New York state that are called, in marvelous turns of Orwellian doublespeak, Pilgrim, Constitution, Algonquin…and AIM. Most of all, Woodley emphasizes how the movement to stand up for water is “bigger than a pipeline.” For non-Natives, it doesn’t matter what your ancestors might have done to Indians; Woodley feels, “It’s time for people to decide what side of history they want to be on now.”