Skeletons In The Closet
A commentary concerning "Nancy's Judgement Day."
By Hale Mawae
Judge Kathleen Watanabe after weeks of deliberation on both sides of the fence of bones at Naue, finally came to a decision on what to do. An injunction to stop construction at Naue was denied as the court's hands are tied by the law, but Watanabe ruled that it must go back to the Burial Council and SHPD since Nancy McMahon made the decision on the burial treatment plan without any deliberation from the burial council.
A burial treatment plan that allowed building permits to be mistakenly approved by the Kaua'i County Planning commission despite the major mistake Nancy McMahon made in making the decision on her own. Oops!
I'm not surprised in the least bit with Nancy's obvious oversight to her failure of due process. In fact, it's as if she almost did it on purpose, and thought she might get away with it. Could it be possible? Especially since everyone was already pointing the finger at her from the beginning of this big mess. Big Surprise?
What I am not surprised with is that we now know who wears the pants in the state's household when it comes to law, attorneys, and judges who can only make round about decisions in this political game of hot potato. Their revised statute law wears the pants. Whatever the hell revised statute means? Only the decision seems to be an already lit, short fuse, stick of dynamite that's about explode in the face of the State Historic Preservation Division.
"Hot potato! Hot Potato! Who's got the Hot Potato? Whoever's got the Hot Potato, you...are....IT!"
"Fire in the hoooooole!"
In the case of the iwi kupuna at the Wainiha Property at Wainiha, Judge Kathleen Watanabe has thrown the scorching stick of dynamite back in the direction of the State Historic Preservation Division, who alluded to the fact that SHPD(a.k.a. Nancy McMahon) didn't do their job quite right. Does it really take a court ordered judge in an illegitimate state to have to say who everyone was already pointing the finger at in the first place? Come on!
In any case, Kathleen Watanabe's decision states flat out that Nancy McMahon did not follow the proper protocol and procedure in the case of Naue concerning the revised burial treatment plan. She had absolutely NO RIGHT to make the decision on the burial treatment plan alone. Period! It was not her sole decision to make!
So now that Nancy McMahon has the smoking stick of dynamite shoved down her throat and a sizzling fuse hanging from her cavity of a mouth, what will the gory explosion of her political and professional career look like before the big bang.
Well, here is a prediction:
The SHPD may or may not do some head chopping in the case of her soon-to-be tragic downfall as an archaeologist, preservationist, and perpetrator(oh excuse me) "perpetuator" of Hawaiian cultural sites and natural resources.
She highlighted her experience working for government in historic preservation, land use and environmental planning, which have given her a “great understanding” of the issues that Kaua‘i faces.
The Garden Island Newspaper
Obviously not her procedures within her own department at SHPD, and protocols that she supposedly has been incompetently working at for over 20 years. Obviously not a clear understanding of cultural sensitivity, archaeological importance, or the community who has been asking her to stop her multiple track record of continued desecrations! While she may have "great understanding," I wonder if she has comprehension to the issues she is making decisions on, which makes me wonder if the kind of "understanding" she speaks of here is really all that "great."
Nancy McMahon also stated recently in The Garden Island Newspaper for an interview regarding questions for the upcoming election for a seat on the Kaua'i County Council.
Shall we take a look? Yes, I think we shall.
Try not to laugh too hard.
She states and I have to put this in bold face print, "I am one of the heads of a state agency(SHPD) that preserves a sense of place and preserves Hawaiiana for future generations. I work for the Department of Land and Natural Resources."
Wow! The last time I checked her track record in preserving a sense of place and "Hawaiiana" I haven't seen too much in what she speaks. I ka 'olelo no ke ola. I ka 'olelo no ka make.(There is life in what you speak, there is death in what you speak).
Someone needs to heed to these words. Hint, hint.
What exactly has been done to preserve our culture and sense of place for future generations? Especially in looking at a first hand current issue such as Naue, in which Nancy McMahon is so heavily entrenched.
The answer to that question is that absolutely nothing has been done.
Zero, zilch, nada!
I'll tell you what her work has been though: a sloppy, insensitive archaeological travesty after travesty; fast-tracked projects to save the state and county department's time and money, and a slew of major developments and million dollar homes built over sacred cultural grounds of Kanaka Maoli people. Even stating on the stand before a judge in her own system that buried remains of ancient Kanaka Maoli does not constitute a cemetery.
Let's not also forget about potentially misappropriated artifacts and remains that belong where they were found or that belong to the families who hold that kuleana.
Is this in any way protecting anything at all for our future generations as she says in her wonderfully crafted contradiction to an article that was published only a day after her statement in court?
A'ole! It doesn't!
In fact, there has been more "inadvertant discoveries," disinterments, and relocated reinterments with her work as a state archaeologist for Kaua'i's SHPD department, then there has been any actual preservation and protection of those sites during Nancy McMahon's terrible reign.
Disturbing graves and destroying cultural sites in place of vacation rentals is not an act of preservation of culture or place for future generations. Maybe we need to learn how to think ourselves through before speaking.
The part where she says "I work for the Department of Land and Natural Resources..." part kind of sums it all up right there. Put a little twist on some acronyms to better describe the recent actions of her department specifically and it paints a clearer picture of the work they entail.
DLNR: The Department of Lots-a-Necrophiliac'd Remains.
The SHPD: The State Houses Perpetrators of Desecration.
All in good faith, I wouldn't be surprised if SHPD forces Nancy into some kind of binding resignation from her position and demand some kind of outside review of the internal process and practices within the SHPD here on Kaua'i and in the illegitimate state. With some serious renovation and reconstruction on the way, let's hope they get an approved burial treatment plan first to get those skeletons out of the closet.
But, now that the ball is back in the SHPD's court, who knows what they are going to do with good ol' Nancy. I am sure Jeff Chandler as well as other named parties have a strong case against her in court for her poor decision making skills at Naue and the continuing heart ache it has caused so many people in trying to do the right thing to protect their ancestors eternal rest.
Maybe we need to take a closer look at some other projects Nancy and the state have been working on. After all she's a state worker who has contradicted herself with her words against her actions to try and get on board the county council.
"Being honest with folks on how decisions and directions for government are made...along with being able to negotiate a win-win situation as one of my best assets." Nancy McMahon
Let's get real honest and maybe we can answer some of these questions:
What exactly in God's name was win-win about losing a major cultural site in the name of desecration and perpetration of our iwi kupuna in the presence of a million dollar vacation rental home in the name of Joe Brescia?
Why was it so important to make that decision on her own without the approval of the burial council?
Why is the correspondence between Joe Brescia and Nancy McMahon right before the final decision was made not being made public yet?
A decision that should have never been made, where footings now rest on top of our iwi kupuna because of that same decision.
The pile of skeleton's are gonna start doing a little tap dance in that closet of Nancy's pretty soon.
In any case, if the SHPD decides whether or not to stuff the short fused stick of political dynamite down Nancy McMahon's throat is still a huge "what if."
But here's to hoping.
Hale Mawae is an independent writer, artist, cultural practitioner, and educator of Kanaka Maoli culture. For more blogs concerning current issues, mo'olelo, mele, Kanaka Maoli cultural arts, and education please visit http://bebo.com/hmawae2004