This is the 8th part of the list of 10 tribes in Davao.
The Spaniards called the people living in the upland areas Atas, lumping many tribes together. These were the people they did not reach in their initial reduction efforts. Today, the term Ata applies to the relatively dark-skinned tribes found in Paquibato, Panabo, Carmen, Santo Tomas, Kapalong, and neighboring places.
Some of them call themselves Ata Manobo particularly those in the Liboganon river basin, while those in Marilog up to parts of Bukidnon call themselves Matigsalug. Another group in the Kapalong area calls itself Talaingod. These Ata groups are one and the same.
In the past, they are noted to be highly nomadic and tended to live in single family units, with each house very far from the others. Considered the earliest inhabitants, they were pushed into the interior by new arrivals.
Like the other Lumads, the Atas have been marginalized due to settler intrusion into their traditional areas. Most of the Atas abandoned their settlements when the Bisayans settled into their lands and/or bartered the lands for several cans of sardines or packets of tobacco.
This type of "purchase" became the pattern in the transaction between the Lumads and the settlers, ultimately resulting in the dispossession of the Lumads.
Today, the Ata people can be found in Paquibato District and in Callawa, Buhangin District.