My ancestors may have been sailors: they’re a coastal people, so it’s possible, but they never left Africa, not permanently, until my father and my mother came to Australia. The story of humanity, at least the National Geographic version of it, always starts with when humans left Africa. That they had fire and caves and complex systems of social interaction recognisable to us as human, and then they left. They went to Europe and maybe lived with Neanderthals for a while, obtained some of their DNA, or maybe they just killed them. They went to Asia where they also maybe lived with Neanderthals and also obtained some of their DNA and also maybe just killed them. They crossed deserts and plains and steppe and mountain, all the while carrying Neanderthal DNA in little sacks tied around their waists. Some took to the sea and found islands and entire continents, bringing Neanderthal DNA to new places. Sub-Saharan Africans are the only people on earth without Neanderthal DNA, but every article I read about Neanderthal’s mentions that these ghosts are present in ‘human DNA’ and whenever I read that I look at my wrist and think, there’s a continent full of people being erased here. Those humans stayed in Africa and moved and fought and settled all over it’s breadth, all without Neanderthal DNA. Some, like my parents, didn’t leave till 1993. What about those humans? Where does their story fit into things?
I think it’s important not to deny people their stories.