“When I close my eyes, I can still hear my grandmother’s laughter. It’s sounds like Jingle-bells and the crackle of a fire all at once. She became a mother to many throughout her extraordinary life. Through that motherhood, she brought people to together, brought Leslie and I together. As matriarch of the Owl House, everything I learned about being human and being a Łingít woman was based in the ancestry I inherited from her… the bloodline of the Owl House. Leslie asked me to sketch a logo that represents what drives her narrative. The Owl represents the ancestry and the wisdom of intergenerational teachings. My grandmother continues to guide both of us to this day in spirit after her passing. She illuminates our path. Traces of her spirit laughter visit in the echo of jingle bells and the crackle of a fire.”
~Maka Monture of the Yéil Naa (Raven Moeity), K’ineix Kwáan (people of the Copper River Clan) from the Tsisk’w Hit (Owl House).
This web site connects you to Leslie Hsu Oh’s writing, photographs, gear reviews, and the Hepatitis B Initiative (a nonprofit she founded as her Albert Schweitzer Fellowship project that has been running since 1997).
Named a “badass” and “force of nature,” she’s written about her 10-month-old snowmobiling in Iceland (story published in Conde Nast Traveler). Her kids started snowboarding as soon as they learned how to walk (story published in Washington Post) and rock climbed at the age of two (story published in Alpinist Magazine). When her son was two and oldest daughter was five, a tour operator in Alaska outfitted both of them with crampons and they hiked a glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (story published in Backpacker). When they turned 9 and 12 both of them flew a helicopter (this story is forthcoming).
Leslie is the recipient of the Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Fellowship Established Professional Award, Rasmuson Individual Artist Award, the first Julius B. Richmond Young Leader in Public Health Award, the first National Award for Excellence in Public Health Leadership, the Sun Memorial Award for exemplifying a commitment to improving the health and well-being of people in underserved populations, and the Schweitzer Award for reverence for life. Leslie is a two-time gold, four-time silver and bronze medalist in North American Travel Journalist Association’s Travel Media Competition and bronze medalist in Society of American Travel Writer Lowell Thomas Award.
Her award-winning work has been named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays, the Solas Award from Travelers’ Tales, Best Magazine Feature Writing Award in Annual Writer’s Digest Competitions, and 1st place in Best Environmental Reporting from Alaska Press Club. Alaska Press Club judge said, “This piece is beautifully and sensitively written, and offers an inspiring story of science, understanding, cooperation and healing. It carefully navigates a deep cultural divide, taking readers to a spectacular natural setting that serves as a touchstone for exploring how people, place and natural resources are intimately connected.”
She is a Fellow for Life with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
Losing her mother and brother to hepatitis B at the age of twenty-one inspired her to found the Hepatitis B Initiative in 1997, which she later expanded to the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area with Thomas Oh. Today, this award-winning nonprofit continues to operate in several states offering free hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cholesterol, glucose screenings, and flu vaccinations to these communities: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burmese, Cambodian, Cameroon, Chinese, Egyptians, Ethiopian, Filipino, Ghanaian, Hmong, Indian, Indonesian, Korean, Laotian, Mongolian, Moroccan, Nepalese, Nigerian, Pakistani, Saudi Arabian, Sierra Leone, Somalian, Sudan, Syrian, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and more.