Aboriginal ceremony held in Australia's Parliament
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Aborigines held ceremonies in Australia's national Parliament on Tuesday in a historic ceremony that many hoped would mark a new era of race relations in the country.
With faces painted white and with a digeridoo -- an ancient wind instrument -- blowing a deep drone in the background, Aborigines of the Ngunnawal tribe called on spirits to welcome newcomers to Parliament in a ceremony held in a hall of the national legislature.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd accepted a traditional gift of welcome from Ngannawal elder Matilda House.
By holding the ceremony, the government gave symbolic recognition for the first time in 107 years of federal government that the land on which Australia's capital was built was once owned by Aborigines, and was taken away without compensation by European settlers.