Slash-and-burn and fishing are the respective major and minor economic activities of the Kanakanavu people. Traditional crops include millet, upland rice, glutinous rice, sweet potatoes, taro, and corn. Hunting, including individual and group hunting, is a male-dominant activity. The Slack season starts from September to April the following year. Finding food for the family is the main purpose of individual hunting, while sourcing sacrifices for rituals is the central target of group hunting. The Kanakanavu people catch fish with spears, nets, hooks, poison, and enclosures.
Carpentry works take the forms of wooden mortars, wooden buckets, steamers, wooden back racks, wooden pillows, wooden benches, wooden pestles, and wooden sticks. Weaving includes rattan and bamboo weaving, with works including bamboo rice baskets, bamboo water bottles, bamboo back baskets, rattan and bamboo mats, bamboo bows and arrows, bamboo cups, and bamboo ladles. Tanning and leathering works include carrying bags, tobacco bags, and clothes made with deerskin, sheepskin, and muntjac skin.
Cakʉrʉ (the Assembly Hall) is where the Kanakanavu people discuss public affairs. It is a mens-only place for discussing affairs including rituals, politics, military, education, and socialization. In earlier times, there was the “watchtower”. It almost became extinct after Japanese colonization. The Kanakanavu people prefer building family houses on a hillside or a platform with wooden columns, bamboo walls, and thatch roofs. Based on the terrain, there family houses can be vertically rectangular or horizontally rectangular. Inside the house there are the stone stove, hanging racks, and beds. Records of Japanese colonization show that there were graves of ancestors in the house. The size of a family house varies according to the number of the family members.
Traditional men’s clothing includes animal skin headgear. People must dress up for important events. A red stripe of cloth stripe is worn along the forehead on top of the headgear to hold feathers. Ordinary people carry 1-4 long feathers of the eagle and Taiwan blue pheasant, elders can carry up to 5-8 pieces, as a sign of social class and merit. The upper garment is usually red in color, with a blue inner lining. There is also the chest bag, waist skirt, vest, leather cape, leather over-sleeves, leather dungarees, leather shoes, and hunting bag. Apart from the feathers on the leather headgear, traditional men’s accessories include the headband, ear pendants, headwear, and wristwear. It is said that the Kanakanavu men loved ornaments more than Kanakanavu women in the past. Women’s ornaments include earwear, neckwear, wristwear, and beaded chest lace. They wear headscarves to facilitate movement. Kanakanavu women wear headgear decorated with colorful wreathes for important events. There are also the upper garment, skirt, and knee pants. When the Kanakanavu people were classified as the Tsou people, the clothing of both men and women was almost the same as that of the Tsou people in Alishan. To avoid confusion, after literature review and discussion with village people, minor modifications were made to the women’s clothing, in particular, the colors saw more changes with the hope to restore the traditional colors of the Kanakanavu culture.