Women of Wisdom II

An Evening of Intercultural Storytelling, Learning, and Hospitality

Women of Wisdom is a unique evening at Chico State focusing on honoring the traditions, philosophies, and wisdom of the Native American community in the North State. Women of Wisdom highlights the contributions by, and value of, Native American women by focusing on their storytelling oratory. Through this event, Chico State hopes to foster a greater appreciation for the wisdom of our local Tribal communities with a key focus on women's experiences.

In Collaboration Anthropology Museum

The event will host an exhibit featuring basketry woven by local artist Susan Campbell, a descendant of the Yahmonee Maidu, Hammawii Pit River, and Washoe tribes and current member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria in Susanville, California. For the past 20+ years, Campbell has been training and practicing in traditional uses of natural materials and basket making with other local master weavers and has been a member of the California Indian Basketweavers Association since 1994.

Campbell believes in "perpetuating and preserving the traditions that connect life with art, and weaver with willow, and the beargrass with the roots that create the basket"

Regalia and other artifacts of Northern California tribes will be on display, along with rare documents. Through the displays, we hope to honor the traditions, philosophies, and wisdom of the Native American community in the North State. These aspects of the exhibit are presented by the Dorothy Hill Special Collections through the Meriam Library.


Betty Jo Smith

Betty Jo is a member of the Klamath Tribe in Oregon and the Wintu Tribe in California. She was born in 1954 to Harold and Rebecca McEnespy, who greatly influenced her. Both parents were activists in Native American rights, health care services, employment, education and cultural awareness. Betty Jo graduated CSU Chico in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. She was the Director of Four Winds of Indian Education, retiring after 25 years. When she first met a Storyteller she was inspired to become a Storyteller herself,  and since then has shared tribal stories throughout California. She has been married to her soulmate for 34 years, and she is a mother of three, a grandmother of 7, and has one great-grandson.

Elizabeth Lara-O'Rourke

Descendant of the Huba, Yurok, and Chilula tribes of Northwestern California, Elizabeth Lara-O'Rourke lived in Humboldt County her whole life and currently resides in McKinleyville. Married and with four children, this storyteller draws inspiration from life lessons as well as from her family. Having been raised in a very traditional family, her stories reflect the values of an ancient world while incorporating ideals of the modern world. Her stories are hailed for their humor and charm.

Joyce L. González

Of the Apache, Pueblo, and Eastern Cherokee, Joyce L. González has been working in the Native American community for 25 years in: community events development, intergenerational trauma/healing, and substance abuse, domestic, and sexual violence recovery. She is a nationally known author of Native American related curriculum and has served on the board of numerous charitable organizations, most notably as Board Chair of the Butte Glenn Family Violence Prevention Council. Living in Butte County, she is the mother of three adult children and a grandmother to eight.

Event Details:

Tuesday, March 6th

Bell Memorial Union Auditorium
California State University, Chico
400 West First Street
Chico, CA 95926

Contact Information:
Call: 530-898-4774


Event Schedule:

5P.M. - Exhibit opens
6-6:45 - Small plate appetizers
6:45 - Program Begins
8:45 - Dessert Buffet


Native American Inspired Menu

Wild Boar Stew with summer squash

CA coastal pinquito beans, and hominy; served with rolls and butter

Wild Alaskan Coho Salmon served with sorghum, roasted corn, and green chili succotash

Navajo Taco bar :

  • Indian Fry Bread
  • Seasoned Ground Venison
  • tomatoes
  • chilis
  • shredded lettuce
  • cheddar cheese

Beverages include water, ice tea, and coffee.