NSWTOx Indigenous

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Tuesday, February 12

Historic Ceremony

aboriginal ceremony held in Australia parliament
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Aborigines in white body paint danced and sang traditional songs in Australia's national Parliament on Tuesday in a historic ceremony many hoped would mark a new era of race relations in the country.
The ceremony was the government's symbolic recognition, for the first time, that the land on which Australia's capital was built was once owned by Aborigines, and was taken away without compensation by European settlers.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will offer a formal apology to thousands of Aborigines who were taken from their families as children under now discredited assimilation policies abolished in 1970 _ an act that many people view as a vital step toward reconciling black and white Australians.
With faces and bodies white and traditional digeridoos blowing a deep drone in the background, Aborigines of the Ngunnawal tribe called on their ancestor spirits to welcome newcomers to Parliament in a ceremony held in a hall of the national legislature.
Rudd accepted the gift of a traditional Ā«message stickĀ» of welcome from Ngunnawal elder Matilda House.

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