Rachael Arthur has gotten an early start on everything, which is just how she likes it.
She skipped second grade, and since she was 15 she has driven from Lakeside High School in Plummer to take college level courses at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, where she earned her Associative of Arts at NIC on May 12 – a few weeks before graduating from high school, which happens this month.
“Life can be short, so I’m happy to get my life going sooner,” said Arthur, 17, an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes. “Besides, with the tribe funding my education, it’s less expensive this way.”
Still, the lifetime resident of Plummer hasn’t missed out on the enjoyable things of high school and tribal activities. She has played volleyball and basketball – but mostly golf. Her father Jess Arthur, who works in revenue administration for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, got her into the sport when she was in seventh grade and now serves as her coach. Her mother, Misty Cowley, is the child support director for the tribe.
Rachael plays golf for her high school team and also with the Idaho Golfers Association’s Idaho Junior Golf League. She modestly states she’s an all right golfer, but then allows that perhaps she’s a bit better than that. No doubt that she is, as she has been nominated for the North Idaho Hall of Fame Golf Female Athlete of the Year, has placed in the top three at state golf competitions and works in guest house services at the Circling Raven Golf Course in Worley.
“I really like the sport,” she said. “It’s fun to meet new people while you golf, and I’ve gotten to play at some really nice courses. I like competing and playing with people who are better than I am.” And she plays often with her father. “Yeah, Dad still always wins.”
She is active with the tribal Youth Council, working on community projects, especially focusing on those aimed toward keeping young people drug and alcohol free. She has attended many Native American National Unity conferences, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., learning about how to get people active in their communities and to become good leaders. There and at home, she has benefited from the wisdom of mentors, who have taught her about traditional values, how those values have evolved and that what each person does affects “those coming up behind us. We need to make our ancestors proud.” She also enjoys Native American stick games and travels with her family to competitions on reservations in the Northwest.
Rachael is looking forward, and has many choices before her – including 14 offers of golf scholarships at colleges across the country, including from as far away as Maryland.
A self-proclaimed hometown girl, Rachael doesn’t want to go that far away for school. She will enroll at Eastern Washington University this fall, with some academic scholarships in hand along with help from the tribe. There she hopes to major in business administration with an eventual eye either toward business or becoming an attorney, working to help Native American communities in either capacity.
And she plans to try out for EWU’s golf team, too.
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