I have been asked to formally introduce myself here. My name is S.E. Kenneth Cosentino and I was born December 4th, 1989. I have lived in Niagara Falls, NY my entire life. One great aspect of living in the Falls is that I have been immersed in Haudenosaunee culture since childhood. I understand that we are guests here in their ancestral home, and so I strive for proper education and understanding of their culture.
As for my own culture, my mother is full-blooded Sicilian. I was raised by her and my maternal grandparents. Like Ongwehonweh culture, Sicilian culture is matrilineal. My father and I have been estranged since I was 9 years old. Through his blood, I am a descendant of Sir William Wallace, the Scottish knight who helped free Scotland from the English colonizers. In a very real sense, Wallace’s blood runs through my veins like a stampede of wild buffalo. Mixed with my Sicilian blood, there is a lot of fire and fury inside of me which I have disciplined myself to control, so that I am not a danger to others.
Instead, I have been a danger to injustice. I work for myself as a freelance artist and writer. I also own a production company called White Lion Studios, LLC. I have been a professional filmmaker since 2008. Art is a large part of my life and always has been. In my community, I am known mostly for being an artist and an activist. I have been actively involved in politics since 2017 as a means to an end. Politics is supposed to be the art of compromise and so I have explored it as an artistic medium. What I’ve found is corruption, not only of the system, but of the souls of countless individuals seeking a power which will never be theirs.
My maternal grandmother was born with a veil over her face, and my mother was born on Samhain. Our bloodline has been traced back to ancient Israel. Our ancestors fled persecution and hid in the Balkan mountains where they supposedly became goat herders. Their gypsy lifestyle has always been present in our family; we dance the Tarantella and we celebrate our cultural roots. One theory is that our ancestors followed their herd down into Sicily and made their new home there, becoming one of the tribes that would eventually spawn the Cosa Nostra.
My grandfather always taught me that Sicilians were considered Black when he was born, and it wasn’t until he was around 12 years old that he was considered white. This means that I am half-Black on my mother’s side, and half-white on my father’s. When most people look at me, they see pale skin and assume that I am white.
I have been honored and privileged to work with the Eastern Woodlands tribes for the past few years. I have had the opportunity to work closely with elders from the Mohawk Nation, the Tuscarora Nation, and the Seneca Nation; as well as Algonquin elders. As an initiate of the secret teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism, I am always conscious of the parallels between our practices and those of the fire keepers. I myself am a hereditary fire keeper. Even my name means fire.
In addition to my art, I am a writer. I have published my first book, “Secret Teachings of the Hidden Masters,” and I am working on the second installment. I am also a teacher, both of the arts and of the mystical arts (namely, dream walking). I am also actively involved in cultivating spiritual growth in the youth of our community.
For more information about who I am, please visit my personal website: www.theniagarian.com
S.E. Kenneth Cosentino