I Have Sorrowed by Shirley Jacket Hill House

This is a spoemq from a cousin, Shirley Jacket Hill House in response to the film and audio pieces I posted a few weeks ago called The Indian Thing.  Click here for the original post about my family and our journey to reconcile our Mohawk rights.  Hopefully I will be able to say hello and interview Shirley when I am  in Niagara Falls in March.  Shirley posted this in my comments page.  Kind of amazing what unearthing the family archives can bring about.

Story Doula

A Poem about my Native American heritage … one of many views.

“I Have Sorrowed . . . ”

I can see my father’s people’s land
As it was before the whites.
It has changed so.
I sorrow.
I can feel vestiges of the old ways,
Although I have never learned them.
I sorrow.
I wish to learn them in the old way,
But know they don’t really exist
The way they truly were.
I sorrow.
Sometimes, I feel
This life I lead has no righteousness.
I sorrow.
By Shirley J. Jacket Hill House
Niagara Falls, NY
Please address all inquiries to:
Shirley J. House
4509 John Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14305
or call 1-716-523-6620
Thank You! SJJH

“I Have Sorrowed . . . “ Poetry Profile / Introduction by Shirley Jane Jacket Hill House Wed. March 27, 2002 This poem is very special to me. It offers one of my views of my Native American heritage. Like my father, grandfather and great grandfather, I belong to the Upper Mohawks of the Grand River, Six Nations at Ohsweken near Brantford, Ontario, Canada. With the Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora, the Mohawk People are joined together to form the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Our name for ourselves is “Haudenosaunee” or People of the Long House. My earliest memories of going with my Dad, Acklin E. Jacket Hill, to visit family elders, relatives and friends at Ohsweken and elsehwhere in North America instilled in me the need to learn and keep in my heart the history and tradition of my Indian family heritage. My quest ever continues and I love to share it with everyone and especially all who have the same interest and curiosity. *And now re-connecting with my cousins, Pam & Marcus and Paulette in the quest for our Mohawk heritage – Pam & Paulette – their grandfather Albert Jacket Hill, is my uncle, my Dad’s brother. *I have been researching my family tree branches since I was a teen (I’ll be 60 this year – 2010) so all this recent interest and activity is heartwarming to me – for sure!

“I Have Sorrowed . . . “ was first published in a collection of poems
by the New York and Alaska Poetry Society in 1976.

Re-published in The Best Poems & Poets of 2002, p.126
Copyright 2002 by the International Library of Poetry
ISBN 0-7951-5189-6

The International Society of Poetry
Watermark Press
One Poetry Plaza, Suite 737
Owings Mills, MD 21117



Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Poetry, The Indian Thing: History. Identity. Family.

2 responses to “I Have Sorrowed by Shirley Jacket Hill House

  1. wow,
    what a gift!
    I am thrilled by your wonderful work and accomplishment.

    cheers, 😉

  2. Pamela Latham

    Members of family went to Six Nations in April. My Uncle Arthur Hill and I received our status cards. My brother Paul is applying for Native rights. His family made the journey with him. Our Dad, who is British, was very leery about all this because he felt it was against Christianity and would change our thoughts and beliefs about God. Six Nations has a church on every corner and is a religious “place”. My dad has finally accepted us as Indians and is interested in the Nation. He’s actually supporting us now and I praise God because he understands that being Indian is not belonging to a cult. God is always present and in control. My dad may even visit Six Nations.
    I praise God that He has brought us together again and are beginning to understand each other. My husband is a teacher of American History and is supportive of this journey. He is Scottish, Irish and Italian. He knows about the Native Cultures and has been helpful in re-educating the family. This is a great journey and I thank my husband for his support. Love you Marcus, you complete me.
    Thank You Paulette…for this journey. You have empowered us as a family. You were amazing to put this all together..we admire you and your achievements.. We love you and God bless you.

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