Vella Lavella girl with painted face and shell ear ornaments, c. 1900
In the traditional culture of the Solomon Islands, age-old customs are handed down from one generation to the next, allegedly from the ancestral spirits themselves, to form the cultural values to Solomon Islands. Culturally, the Solomon Islands are a part of Melanesia, and the indigenous peoples are Melanesians.
In the contemporary Solomon Islands, as elsewhere in Melanesia, kastom is the core of the assertion of traditional values and cultural practices in a modern context. The Kastom Gaden Association, for example, advocates growing and eating traditional foods rather than imported ones.
The status of the Reefs – Santa Cruz languages were once thought to be non-Austronesian, but further research found them to be divergent Austronesian languages. The neighbouring languages of Vanikoro are also heavily relexified Austronesian languages.
Ceremonial shield, Solomon Islands, circa 1800, from the LACMA collections