• In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, photo, volunteers toss logs at an oil pipeline protest encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota. The logs will be used to cook meals for the thousands of people who have come to the area to fight the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. (AP Photo/James MacPherson).

    In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, photo, volunteers toss logs at an oil pipeline protest encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota. The logs will be used to cook meals for the thousands of people who have come to ... the area to fight the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. (AP Photo/James MacPherson). (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, photo, Dewey Plenty Chief picks up trash at a pipeline protest encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota. Plenty Chief said the camp produces several tons of trash weekly and uses several hundred gallons of water daily. (AP Photo/James MacPherson).

    In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, photo, Dewey Plenty Chief picks up trash at a pipeline protest encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota. Plenty Chief said the camp produces several tons of trash weekly and uses ... several hundred gallons of water daily. (AP Photo/James MacPherson). (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, photo, Melaine Stoneman, a Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and her 5-year-old son, Wigmuke, pose for a photo near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota. The teepee is used as a classroom at for children whose parents have come to an encampment to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (AP Photo/James MacPherson).

    In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, photo, Melaine Stoneman, a Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and her 5-year-old son, Wigmuke, pose for a photo near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota. The ... teepee is used as a classroom at for children whose parents have come to an encampment to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (AP Photo/James MacPherson). (The Associated Press)

Pipeline protest site a city unto itself with school, meals

Markets Associated Press

What started in April with a few members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has become one of North Dakota's newest and biggest communities.

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Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people have set up tents and shelters near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers, joining tribal members in their fight against the Dakota Access oil pipeline to protect sacred sites and a river that's a source of water for millions of people.

There's a school for dozens of children, an increasingly organized system to deliver water and meals and volunteers from the health care sector.

Protesters say they'll stay on federal land as long as it takes to stop the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline — even in brutal winter conditions.

The pipeline company says it's committed to finishing the project.