The camp that sprung up near the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline now has a population larger than most of the cities in North Dakota.
Among the people at the camp are protesters who traveled from Colorado.
The protest started in April, when Native Americans from Standing Rock Reservation came to the remote site to try and stop the pipeline’s construction.
The more than 1,100 mile long project crosses several states. The intention is for the pipeline to carry more than 400,000 barrels of oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois.
The concern for those that live on the reservation is that part of the pipeline crosses through the Missouri River watershed, under Lake Oahe – the source of drinking water for the tribe.
Protesters are concerned about the potential that the pipeline could contaminate Standing Rock’s water.
CU Denver professor John Ronquillo was at Standing Rock, and says what’s happening is a situation with many layers.
“In my field, we talk a lot about ‘wicked problems,’ which are problems where we see no foreseeable end in sight,” he said. “Do I think DAPL has gotten to ‘wicked problem’ status? I don’t.
“I do think there will be an end in sight. I think there are opportunities to coalesce around the issues and try and building a dialogue between or among all the parties involved.”
It’s a complex story, one with an intersection of business interests, tribal treaties and the federal government.
9NEWS will explore the Standing Rock protests further throughout the day. Maya Rodriguez is in North Dakota, and will provide updates online and on TV.