David and I went to St. Augustine, the first North American city, founded in 1565 by the Spanish. It changed hands several times before becoming one of the United States. Its history under European rule and statehood is dwarfed on the timeline by all that happened before.
What made the previous history come alive for me was seeing a 500-year-old dugout canoe. It was actually a baby compared to other examples in a cache of 101 dugout canoes, some as old as 5,000 years, recently found in Newnans Lake by high school students.
People have the very human tendency to give primacy to their own stories. When people rail against immigrants in this country today, I know we are all immigrants. Even the people who paddled those canoes 5,000 years ago had traveled to this continent across the Bering Strait long before. We are all part of the long and complex human story that started in East Africa.