Construction halted after more than 1,000 people swarm to protest the Dakota Access pipeline they believe threatens the Missouri River.

 A groundswell of Native American activists has temporarily shut down construction on a major new oil pipeline with an ongoing protest that has drawn around 1,200 people to Cannon Ball, N.D.

Protesters from dozens of tribes across the country are now camping in tents, tepees and mobile homes at the Sacred Stone Camp a mile and a half from the construction site. A video shows a second, more recently established campsite, the Red Warrior Camp.

The Standing Rock tribe, one of the poorest communities in the nation according to 2010 census data cited by the tribe, relies on the Missouri River for drinking water, irrigation, fishing and recreation, and for cultural and religious practices. The reservation covers about 3,600 square miles along the river.

"An oil spill would represent a genuine catastrophe for the people who live there," said Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental organization that filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Standing Rock Tribe against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which approved the pipeline. "It isn't just cultural and religious, it's their economic lifeblood."

The suit alleges the pipeline violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

Mekasi Horinek Camp, a member of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma and coordinator of the environmental group Bold Oklahoma, claimed the Sioux bands "haven't come together in this traditional way since the Battle of the Little Big Horn."

"It's an historical time," he said, "and just a beautiful thing to be a part of."


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