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Vatican Secret Archives: 6 of the most intriguing documents in church history

One hundred documents held in the Vatican’s Secret Archives are now on display in Rome for the first time. Read our list here of six standouts.

A letter from a Native American tribe

One of the most intriguing documents is a letter written on birch bark in 1887 by the Ojibwe tribe of Native Americans from Grassy Lake, Ontario, to Pope Leo XIII.

The letter was written in May but is datelined “where there is much grass, in the month of the flowers” and addresses the pope as “the Great Master of Prayer, he who holds the place of Jesus.” It was written in the Ojibwe language, with a translation in French given by a Catholic missionary.

The letter thanks God and the Pope for sending a bishop to work among the Ojibwe.

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