The Shanenawa tribe derives its name from a captivating etymological blend of "Shane," symbolizing a rare blue-colored bird, and "Nawa," representing foreign people. Hence, they are affectionately known as the "Blue Bird People." According to their beliefs, encountering this elusive bird is a rarity, often signaling impending conflicts among indigenous groups. Their historical narrative closely parallels the experiences of many indigenous communities in the Acre region.
During the early 20th century, the Shanenawa people faced the harsh consequences of rapid and violent colonization, primarily driven by the rubber extraction industry. As the region experienced economic growth, the Shanenawa initially found themselves in labor roles, responsible for providing meat and essential sustenance to the rubber workers. In subsequent stages, they played a pivotal role in rubber extraction and the assimilation of other indigenous groups in the upper Envira River region, reflecting the resilience and adaptability of their culture in the face of challenging times.