For the heart to truly share another's being, it must be an embodied heart, prepared to encounter directly the embodied heart of another. I have met the other in this way, not once or a few times, but over and over during years spent in the company of persons like you and me, who happen to be nonhuman.
The only phenomenon with which writing has always been concomitant is the creation of cities and empires, that is the integration of large numbers of individuals into a political system, and their grading into castes or classes. It seems to have favored the exploitation of human beings rather than their enlightenment.
In the relentless search for advancement and material progress we have perhaps alienated ourselves from our Earth. I feeltingly witnessed this innate appreciation of belonging when the Colombian Indians greeted strangers on a street in Bogatá. Tribal people are the beacons that illuminate the importance of these connections. If we destroy them, we smother these lights, and so make our future far less human. I believe their survival, far from being a fringe concern, is one of the greatest humanitarian concerns of our time.
The African presence in America before Columbus is of importance not only to African and American history but to the history of world civilizations. It provides further evidence that all great civilizations and races are heavily indebted to one another and that no race has a monopoly on enterprise and inventive genius.