The Chané, together with other Arawak groups, are believed to have originated in northeastern South America, but to have spread southward about 2,500 years ago. They developed an agrarian culture, built densely populated villages, cultivated corn, peanuts, cotton and squash, and are famous for their ceramics and graphics which have been found mainly in the pampas of Bolivia surrounding the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and in Samaipata, Portachuelo, Valle Abajo, Okinawa, Cotoca, El Pari, Mataral and Warnes. They also craft wooden masks and fabric clothing.
An ancient Chané religious site dating from about 300 CE is El Fuerte de Samaipata, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
They were a rather peaceful culture and traded with the Quechua-speaking Incas in the Andes and with other Arawak-speaking groups to the north and east. Chanés and Incas established a truce to join forces against the Eastern Guarani peoples of the Andes foothills, who the Incas and Spaniards called Chiriguanos. The Chiriguanos raided the Chané homeland on a regular basis, and prior to the Spanish conquest, the Chiriguanos defeated the Chanés and halted the Inca advance into the plains and valleys of what is now the Santa Cruz Department of Bolivia. Some Chane weré forced into slavery by the Chiriguanos, others migrated to less fertile regions to the southeast. Many Chané women were taken as wives by Chiriguano men, thus starting a process of assimilation. Both Guaraní and Guaraní-speaking Chané also assimilated and mixed with Europeans during the colonial period and after the independence of both Argentina and Bolivia.