Shailene Woodley: Actress and Advocate

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley

Olivia Newman

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In the fall of 2016, many Americans began to stand up in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is a pipeline designed to transport fracked oil throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. One of the most notable people who publicly expressed their dislike for the project was Hollywood actress Shailene Woodley, who has become quite well-known over the past few years for her starring roles in box-office hits such as The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent trilogy.

Woodley expressed her motivations for protesting the pipeline in Time magazine, explaining that her and the “[other] people who gathered together…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 also discussed the fact the majority of the protestors of the pipeline, the Sioux tribe living in North Dakota, are attempting to preserve not only their home on the Mississippi, but also the rest of the world that depends on it for drinking water, and they are being completely ignored. “It took me,” Woodley wrote, “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.”

Woodley and twenty-six others were arrested during the protest on October 10th, Woodley’s was arrested for supposed trespassing, although in a livestream video she posted, she was not given the reason for her detainment by the police. The others allowed themselves to be arrested to bring attention to the issue, as it has really not been covered by the mainstream media. In fact, one woman even lost her arm during a protest, and was not given any recognition.

Recently, the issue had seemed to be resolved, as the Obama administration had denied the permit to construct the pipeline. However, president-elect Donald Trump is in favor of the pipeline, and has stated that he will be reviewing the decision, so it seems that protests may be continuing for longer than expected, and natives will continue to have to fight for their land and safety.