Seville, Spain: Archives of the Indies

In 2013, Dr. Debra Harry (Paiute Nation), Sharon Venne (Cree Nation) and I flew to Madrid, Spain. From there, Sharon drove us to Seville, Spain to visit the General Archives of the Indies. On our second day there we were given permission to see two of the original papal bulls from May of 1493. They were written in permanent octopus ink, on velum (lambskin) parchment. Although the heading was faded, the ink of the document was a deep golden brown, and looked as if it had only been written fairly recently. It was, to say the least, a memorable and once in a lifetime event. On the back of one of the documents it said that the pope (Alexander VI) had given to the king and queen of Spain a concession “to win and to conquer [dominate] the Indies.”