The Ankari were a spacefaring humanoid civilization in the Delta Quadrant. They had access to warp technology, but used a form of propulsion that was difficult for sensors to detect. They harbored a great respect for what they termed "spirits of good fortune", nucleogenic lifeforms from another realm, which they could summon using a summoning beacon.
The crew of the stranded USS Equinox encountered the Ankari sometime before 2376, who provided them with supplies and food. They also summoned the lifeforms in their sacred ritual to bless the Equinox's journey. The Equinox crew members were able to barter for one of the devices to summon the lifeforms themselves.
There is some confusion about the Ankari: it is stated that the Ankari were the race of beings who introduced the crew of the Equinox to the nucleogenic lifeforms, which allowed the ship to travel 10,000 light years in two weeks, and possibly further. Yet in Part II, Janeway states that the Ankari are only fifty light years behind them. One explanation could be that the race had colonized planets throughout the quadrant, even over that grand a distance.