Date of Birth:
Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India
Navneet Rondeau was born on February 13th 1967 in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India. She had an arranged marriage in 1986 and moved to Canada in November of that same year. She was sponsored by her husband and came to Canada as a permanent landed immigrant. Navneet arrived by a Japan Airlines flight that landed in Vancouver, and from there she and her husband took the bus to Golden, BC, as it was snowing.
Navneet came from an educated family. Her father was in the military so she studied in a military school and spoke English. Navneet was young when she moved and had no relatives in Canada apart from her husband and his family. She was married into a family that was not so open minded as her parents were back home. She felt as if she had moved to a village in India that was fifty years behind with regards to her husband’s family. She was very close to her sisters-in-law as she was not allowed to make friends outside the family. When she moved to Golden, BC, she would visit the Gurdwara often and found that people were friendly and welcoming in the community. The town was much smaller back then, and there weren’t many restaurants. Navneet finished the first year of her B.A. when she moved here and always wanted to finish her education. However, with being in Golden and due to her in-laws, she never had the opportunity to do so. She found winters very depressing as she didn’t play any winter sports.
The Punjabi community in Golden celebrated festivals such as Vaisakhi and every Sunday the gurdwara would be filled with people for akhand paaths (a prayer ceremony) and weddings. She noticed the Golden population depleting; many youth were moving out of Golden for higher education and then would call their parents to come live with them. Navneet remembers that Golden never had any Indian clothing stores and the closest was in Vancouver and Calgary. For the first 10 years in Golden, she wasn’t allowed to mingle with other people in the community but she remembers that everyone else in the community would get together for dinners and picnics during summer. Navneet didn’t face much discrimination but when she went for her first job as a waitress they put her as a dishwasher. Navneet was not happy about this and ended up quitting her dishwashing job.
Navneet lived in Edmonton for two years and she remembers interacting with Indigenous people there as Golden didn’t have many. She went back to India after 13 years to visit her family, as her husband’s family didn’t allow her to visit India before this. She now visits her family every two years or her mother comes to visit. Navneet works in the school system and, being Punjabi, has been approached to interpret in courts. There are many multicultural functions that she hosts, and she also conducts tours of the Gurdwara for school kids. She also loves to the celebrate Diwali every year and puts up many candles. Navneet loves living in Golden and being a part of and contributing to her community.