The Ansata were a Rutian separatist group. Their goal was to gain autonomy and self-determination for their homeland on the western continent of Rutia IV, which was ruled by the eastern continent. Jean-Luc Picard described them as "a little band of outlaws."
The Ansata originated around 2296, when the Rutian government denied the western continent independence. Around the 2260s, the movement started to become violent, engaging in violent protests and numerous terrorist acts. These included bombing and assassination. The Rutian police responded with mass arrests and prison brutality, leading to an escalating cycle of violence that embittered and radicalized both sides.
In 2366, the Ansata were led by Kyril Finn and were based in an underground facility on the southern tip of the eastern continent. At this time, Rutian authorities thought that the group numbered only two hundred actual members, though known sympathisers numbered over five thousand. These sympathizers provided weapons and information, and participated in pro-Ansata protests, general strikes, as well as the occasional riot.
During this year, the Ansata developed a folded-space transport technology called an inverter that allowed them to transport themselves instantly and undetectably to any location, greatly increasing the threat they posed. However, the use of the inverter eventually caused debilitating, irreversible damage to the Ansata members' DNA.
When the USS Enterprise-D visited Rutia IV to deliver medical supplies, Finn saw an opportunity to draw the Federation into the conflict. Taking advantage of the inverter, he had Doctor Beverly Crusher and Captain Jean-Luc Picard abducted, and held them in order to demand that the Federation impose a blockade on the planet until the Rutian government agreed to Federation-mediated talks. Enterprise personnel were able to track the inverter, allowing them and the Rutian police to raid the Ansata base and rescue the hostages. In the process, Finn was killed by Rutian police officer Alexana Devos, who hoped his death would temporarily alleviate the violence. (TNG: "The High Ground")