Since the beginning of time the indigenous people from Hopland known as The Sho-Ka-Wah have had a strong connection to the land. The plentiful Russian River valley provided everything the people needed to live a bountiful life. With five assembly houses and six chiefs, Sho-Ka-Wah was the largest village in Central Pomo territory before contact.The river not only provided plentiful fish but also along its sandy shores grew willow and sedge, traditional materials used for making the beautiful baskets the Pomo master weavers are known for worldwide.
Situated between the Pacific Ocean's coast and Clearlake, The village of Sanel was a bustling hub of commerce where travelers could trade their fine furs and baskets for the prized clamshell disk beads manufactured there by expert bead-makers.
During Trade gatherings, Gambling or the Grass Game, also known as Sho-Ka-Lome occurred which led to more exchange of goods. The Sho-Ka-Wah's aboriginal territory has always been a place where people met, money was exchanged and a good time can be had by many. These traditional gatherings known as "Big Time" are still held annually at the tribe.
The land is an integral part of this, as the river, plants and animals have provided all the abundance needed for a good life.