Papua New Guinea, an island nation in Melanesia, is home to nearly a thousand distinct indigenous tribes. Rural communities comprise 85% of the population of Papua New Guinea, where the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and ancient cultural traditions are woven into the fabric of everyday life. Highly localized customs dictate clan structure, marriage, child-rearing practices, and religious devotion — which often combines the original forms of ancestor worship with Christianity brought over by missionaries during the last century.

One of the most renowned tribal customs is the sing sing, a ritual performance that incorporates song, dance, elaborate masks, costumes, and body paint. There are over 800 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea, with most people able to communicate in a unique form of creole English called Tok Pisin.