Leela Vernon was a Belizean Cultural Icon who celebrated her love of Belize and cultural identity through music and dance. She was raised in Punta Gorda Town and was known for “Buru” style, which was believed to have originated in Southern Belize. In 1987, she established the Ebolites Dance Group which brought young people together to train and showcase their Kriol culture through music and dance.

Always proud of her Kriol roots, Miss Leela established what would eventually become the National Kriol Council of Belize, which is still active today protecting and preserving the Kriol Culture.

In 1994, Miss Leela performed for Queen Elizabeth ll upon her visit to Punta Gorda and was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Following her passing in 2017, her children established the Leela Vernon Memorial Museum and Kriol Kulcha House which showcases memorabilia representing more than 400 years of Kriol Culture. Copalli is proud to support this organization and its important mission.


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