Charles C. Mann is trying to point out the mistakes in the observation of Holmberg. He wants to bring out the real picture of the Sirionó and, explain the reason for their way of living. Holmberg’s assumption that the Native Americans lived in an unhistorical state is not true. Although this is not true, he made people to believe that Indians were poor people who did not have a culture and were so poor, hungry and walked bare footed (Josephy, 234). Mann is trying to bring forth the fact that Holmberg did not take his time to study and understand the real situation in Beni.
Mann is trying to make the reader see Beni from a different point of view from that of Holmberg where he paints Beni as a pathetic place where it occupants are so miserable because they lack the capacity to improve their lives.
Holmberg had stated that the Sirionó, lived in small isolated groups and that they had no impact on the environment. He claims that the population was so low and scattered of in the wilderness. According to Mann, this is not correct. Recent studies by archeologists in the ruins found in the wilderness have shown that twenty-five square miles of the place had thousands of buildings, canals, and reservoirs. The place had many houses meaning that the Indians were densely populated. Holmberg also said that the Indians were poor without culture. This was also another one of his mistakes. Studies have shown that the Indians were organized into kingdoms. Collections of five dozen kingdoms have been found in the Maya city Maya is one of the place in the world associated with sophisticated cultures oppose to Holmberg observation (Mann, 68).
The region was rich in soil and water. It was flourishing. It is believed that the change in the region was caused by a massive drought that hit the region. This forced the Sirionó, to move to lands with poor soil that was not suitable for intensive farming. Holmberg said that the Sirionó, were so backward to the extent where they could not count to three. Little did he know that the same people invented zero and that they used to count and even invented the wheel. The only thing that Holmberg did not is that they saw the wheel as toys for their children.
Holmberg reports that the Sirion’o had lived without changing the environment and landscape around them. He was wrong as the Indians had planted the forest in Beni and constructed the causeways and mound and fish weirs. The landscape that he refers to was not the making of the Sirion’o, but a creation by somebody else (Mann, 345).
According to Mann, it is wrong for the Indians to be termed as the noble savage because the Indians were not like that from the beginning. They are seen as primitive people who cannot decide anything for themselves. He argues that the Indians that Indians are gentle people who respect the environment and do nothing to change it. According to the noble savage, the evolution of man took place in all the other parts of the world except in America. The so-called evolution undermines the Indians because they thought they had no history. The Europeans viewed the impact on the environment as the sing of evolution. This is what is wrong with the noble savage. The Indians were victims of diseases and drought and did not deserve to be treated badly.
It is believed that the first Indians joined Americas through the Bering Strait thirteen thousand years ago. The theory behind it is that they walked through the polar ice. However, some archeologists say that the Indians must have arrived twenty thousand years ago when the ice-berg was smaller.