This has been a major issue and has been on the news for weeks now. Both sides obviously have their reasons. My question is, who has the legal right to the land? I heard Congress appropriated the Sioux tribes. If this is the case and the Sioux still own the land and did not approve of the pipeline than they have the right. Who is this oil company and wouldn't be more sensible to go around the land rather cause all the uproar? Unless the federal government declared imminent domain and took the land by force which I did not hear about.

  • The issue isn't about land ownership. There are two primary issues: risking the missouri river (the area's only drinking water) and a lawsuit against the army corp of engineers for not fully vetting the plan and considering native land considerations.
    – user1530
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


My question is, who has the legal right to the land?

At the moment, the pipeline. Land ownership isn't what is being protested. Rather, there are two primary concerns:

  1. The pipeline will go under the Missouri River. This river is the primary drinking water for the region. Pipelines are known to leak.

  2. The tribe feels the Army Corp of Engineering didn't fully investigate the situation before granting permits and that they ignored federal requirements to involve the local tribes in the process.

(And there's a much broader, less direct 3rd issue which is environmentalism activism against any facilitation of increased oil production)


The conflict also needs to be put into the context of history as well, where the US and the Indian Nations haven't always had the best relationships in terms of land agreements.


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