Protesters in North Dakota just got a superhero’s endorsement.
Clad in his Thor costume, actor Chris Hemsworth posted a message of support on Instagram to members of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, who have faced violent retaliations from law enforcement while protesting a controversial oil pipeline that would pass a half-mile from their territory. Joined by environmental activists, the indigenous population claims that the 1,172-mile pipeline presents a threat to their potable water resources and would disturb sacrosanct burial grounds.
“Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water,” Hemsworth wrote in his post.
He also took the opportunity to address a scandal that broke late last year, when at a “Lone Ranger”-themed New Year’s Eve party, Hemsworth wore a costume mimicking the dress of the First Nations people. His perceived insensitivity to the plight of America’s indigenous community caused offense on social media after his wife, model/actress Elsa Pataky, posted a photo from the party on Instagram. The image has since been removed from her profile.
“I sincerely and unreservedly apologize to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action,” Hemsworth wrote on Instagram Thursday. “I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way.”
Hemsworth isn’t the first Avenger to show sympathy toward the Standing Rock cause. This week, Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner/the Hulk in the Marvel Universe, delivered solar panels to the Sioux camp set up to physically impede the construction of the pipeline so that, as winter approaches, activists could continue their protest thanks to electricity generated from solar power.
"Around the world, more than 80 percent of the forests and lands with protected waterways and rich biodiversity are held by indigenous tribes. This is no coincidence," Ruffalo said. "As so many of us suffer from polluted water, air and land in our rural and urban communities, the water defenders at Standing Rock are showing us another way."