Near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, 5,000 people gathered as water protectors in a sprawling 80-acre camp. The group is fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says desecrates sacred sites and is a threat to its water. (Leine Stikkel/WyoFile)

At its largest, the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation sprawled across about 80 acres and was home to some 5,000 people. Campers endured bitter winter weather to support water protectors — members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — and other tribal representative fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Tribes say the pipeline, which is under constriction, desecrates sacred sites and is a threat to their water.

Pipeline builders say they followed all regulations and received all necessary approval before the Army Corps of Engineers last week balked on issuing a final permit to drill under the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe. Some of those who have been at the camp or supporting the tribes have been arrested for allegedly trespassing at the pipeline construction site and engaging in a riot.

The camp is a warren of tipis, lean-tos, campers, sheds, wall tents and other structures. Many campers left Oceti Sakowin Camp after a blizzard and bitter cold moved in. Although living conditions have been difficult, those remaining at the site were looking out for one another and hunkering down for a long stay.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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