Anderson Gould Jr. reflects on importance of his Navajo heritage

Alumni spotlight

Shanice Davis, Features Editor


In the fall of 2014, veteran Anderson Gould Jr. graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Visual Performing Arts.

While in attendance at CSUSM, Gould was a member of the PR Group, held an internship at the Office of Communications on campus in 2012, was a staff photographer on campus from 2012 through 2014, was actively involved in the American Indian Student Alliance (AISA) and served as Chair during the fall of 2014.

Since graduation, Gould has been relentlessly looking for a job as his particular field of graphic design and illustration is difficult to find work in.

Even though there have been times when Gould wanted to give up, he said that he doesn’t because he has “a lot to be grateful for” and juxtaposes his situation with his Navajo tribe on how far they have come all throughout history.

“We shouldn’t take things for granted, but when we look back on how far we’ve come as a tribe, it’s major. So I’m hoping to continue on that path and pave a better future for not only my son, but also younger Navajos,” he said.

Prior to joining the military and attending CSUSM, Gould had grown up in New Mexico and had been surrounded by his Navajo culture for most of his life until he left the area.

When he first attended Cal State San Marcos, he joined AISA and found a family with other fellow Native Americans on campus.

“AISA helped me connect with other Native American students and other Native American people in Southern California.

“Coming here from New Mexico, where there was a large Navajo population, I felt like I was always around my culture, but when I came to California and started working with and being active in AISA, I saw that there were other students and many tribes throughout San Diego county,” said Gould.

Being Navajo is something that Gould takes extensive pride in, as his decision on joining the military was also based on his upbringing and hearing about the Navajo code talkers’ efforts during WWII.

“Growing up, we’re always taught about our elders and people who have paved the way for us and the different obstacles they had to go through.

“Even then, talking to them as I was growing up, they talked about their contribution to not only that war but other wars as well and how they were fighting for their homeland and their people, not just for the United States,” he said.

With that, Gould said he felt that was something that Navajo descents should be very proud of.

In the end, Gould wants to have a job that pertains to his degree and a career doing something that he loves.

“With my [background in] graphic design… illustration, and photography, I can marry all these skills together and hopefully will be able to do graphics—not only look for a job, but continue to network, so that one day I can branch out on my own and I can have my own business. That’s my ultimate goal,” he said.

Although Gould is no longer a student at CSUSM, he still wants to be a guide for his community as giving back and helping those in need is something he is very passionate about.

“Hopefully one day I can help students who are coming out of school, veterans and Native Americans. There are a lot of creative people out there and it is tough to find jobs in the creative field. So one day I would like to give back and help someone in the same situation as me,” said Gould.

He strives to be a voice within his Navajo community and stresses the importance of education, never giving up and looking forward to the future and the elevation of Native Americans.