In a nutshell they don’t have to build this pipeline. They can continue transporting oil by truck or railroad like they’ve been doing for decades (tho that’s risky too). They also want to frack on their land which puts their underground water supply in big jeopardy. Also at some point this pipeline goes underneath the river and that too is a major disaster waiting to happen.
This is their land that they’ve been living on for over well over a 100 years and these actions are in violation of the treaty the U.S. signed with them. They are being brutalized by the petroleum workers and police alike for simply defending their land and water supply. Wake up history is repeating itself.
While we take things like city tap water and electricity for granted, there’s still plenty of Native Americans on these reservations who rely on well-water and have no basic plumbing or grid electricity. Some reservations are so far out in the middle of nowhere it takes around an hour to get an ambulance down there and in a lot of cases that’s a death sentence. Thanks to centuries of atrocities they are by far the poorest most vulnerable minority and this has persisted ever since. They were forcibly put on these reservations by gunpoint and for the most part forgotten about over the years. So whenever this pipeline ruptures (not if, but when) they are going to be extraordinarily fucked.
The original idea was to have the pipeline placed elsewhere and it was close to communities that were predominantly white. Those people resisted the pipeline and their fears were exactly what the Native American tribes feared and that is it puts their water at risk of being destroyed. So naturally since the U.S. government has always treated Native Americans as 2nd class citizens, they decided to put the pipeline on their land whether they wanted it or not.