Courtesy of Longhouse Media

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


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.”

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



Nigig-enz Baapi's picture
Nigig-enz Baapi
Submitted by Nigig-enz Baapi on
No celebrities! Go away! You know nothing about the struggle about our people which has been taking place since 1492. Accomplices not allies. She is just seeking to be seen and heard. I support our people which is the true Indigenous resistance and not white celebrities. She doesn’t represent me, my tribe, my community, or our struggle. Why step in now? I see money in her pocket that I don’t have.

HenryPeter's picture
Submitted by HenryPeter on
The water protectors are on the side of protecting our water and land from the fossil fuel industry that is destroying our planet. Standing Rock and other indigenous actions to protect our survival for future generations will grow in force against violent police oppression.

M. Fire Talker's picture
M. Fire Talker
Submitted by M. Fire Talker on
So you got arrested, so you gave a feast, so you have been there for a few months, so you walked and you might even have a tee shirt on and a pin. So you raised money. In a few months maybe a year, you will be back at home. This is just a thing to do at the moment. You will be back at home and many people across Indian Country will be in the same situation they were in before you came to South Dakota. What will your people do about Indian people without heat this winter, Indian people discriminated against and killed by your police? I don’t give a crap about Christmas but some people do so, what will your people do about Indian families that will not be able to provide a gift for their children. Thanks for coming to protest the pipeline, then you can go back home. Don’t come up with that shit about, It does not matter what your ancestors did to Indians. We feel the effects of what has been done to us every day. We live the the effects of what was done to us. How dare you say it does not matter.