The Skagit Indians maintained several villages on Penn Cove. The paramount Skagit chief lived at Snakelum Point, southeast across the cove. The village at Monroe's Landing was called cokwol'a. Cokwol'a was a major village of the Skwdabs, a subgroup of the Skagit, who occupied an area that included Oak Harbor, Dugulla Bay, and the lower portion of the Sakgit River.
The people here hunted deer and ducks with nets, farmed edible camas, maintained fields of wild berries, and dug horse clams in front of Monroe's landing.
This potlatch house stood near Monroe's Landing until about 1910. The traditional potlatch, or sgw'igw'i, was an occasion for relatives, friends, and different tribes to gather for ceremonies, feasting, and demonstrating strength and wealth during the winter season. The host distributed gifts to all those who attended. The guests then invited participants to celebrations at their home villages.
The sgw'igw'i brought status to the giver and gave distant people a chance to exchange ideas. Mountain goat wool and horn from the Cascade Mountains were brought by Upper Skagit people and exchanged for dentalium and decorative shell, News was also exchanged.