Graton tribal chair Greg Sarris, black tee-shirt, leads a meeting the the tribal council inside of the 340,000-square-foot gambling palace that has 3,000 slot machines and 144 table games at the Graton Casino & Restort Wednesday October 30, 2013 in Rohnert Park, Calif.
On Tuesday , the 1,300-member Sonoma County tribe will open its Graton Resort & Casino. Situated next to U.S. Highway 101 in Rohnert Park as the closest tribal casino to San Francisco, the $800 million development is expected to instantly rival the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln for supremacy in the California gambling market.Anita Silva, 82, a tribal elder for the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria in Sonoma County, never felt deprived by her humble upbringing in a drafty shack with no indoor plumbing. Despite economic hardships, she says simply, ÒI didnÕt remember that there were any.Ó
The Graton tribe, the beneficiary in the development, is comprised of many descendants of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Indians who in 1922 were herded onto 15.4 acres of steep terrain in remote Sonoma County that the federal government designated as the Graton Rancheria.