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Shailene Woodley releases a statement in response to protest arrest

By Sarah Mulé
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Shailene Woodley releases a statement in response to protest arrest
Shailene Woodley arrives on the red carpet at the "Before The Flood" screening at United Nations Headquarters on October 20, 2016 in New York City. Woodley released a statement about her arrest on Oct. 10 while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Shailene Woodley released a statement to Time Magazine about her recent arrest during a peaceful protest at the Dakota Access Pipeline site in North Dakota.

Woodley was arrested on Oct. 10, the event livestreamed on the actress' Facebook page. She was officially charged on Thursday with two misdemeanors -- criminal trespass and engaging in a riot -- to both of which she pleaded not guilty.

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She released a statement to Time, detailing the events of her arrest and her motivation for involving herself in the protest, saying she traveled to the site to "(stand) in solidarity, side-by-side with a group of over 200 water protectors."

"I was in North Dakota, standing side by side with Native Americans," Woodley wrote. "You know, those who were here before us. Well, guess what, America? They're still here. And they are still fighting the good fight. A fight that serves each and every one of us. They are still putting their lives on the line to protect the roots that feed our existence. And, guess what else, dear America? They are still being ignored."

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The pipeline, which is being contested largely by Native Americans in the region, is planned to stretch 1,100 miles through North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. Through areas, many of the protesters say, are their own protected, native lands.

In her statement, Woodley claimed Western culture is quick to borrow from native heritage, but not willing to listen to their grievances.

"We grow up romanticizing native culture, native art, native history... without knowing native reality," she said. "We are allowing Native American voices to be swallowed by the white noise of distraction. Doesn't this sadden you, America?"

Woodley wrote that it upsets her that many people still would not know about the pipeline protest if it weren't for her arrest.

"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," she said. "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."

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Woodley asked her fans and supporters to turn their attention from her to the greater cause at hand.

"Simply feeding off the hype of a celebrity's arrest ain't going to save the world. But, standing together will," she wrote. "Please stand in solidarity with the Sioux people of Standing Rock Reservation to ensure that we still have rivers to swim in, springs to drink from and lakes to float on. Will you join us?"

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