St. Anne's Mission

There is an historical island off the Potlotek First Nation in the Bras D'or Lakes. It has been a meeting place for the Mi'kmaq of the maritime provinces since time immemorial. The island has been called by different names. It was called one name by the French and another by the English, but to the Mikmaw it was and still is, simply called, Mniku. (island) It was chosen by Father Maillard missionary, 1735-1762 for his ministry to the Mi'kmaq. He said the first mass on the island on a boulder in 1742. In the early 1750's he was able to build a chapel.

Mniku, the little island is the oldest reserve in what was the colony of Cape Breton island. Mniku became a reserve when Grand Chief Michael Thomas asked for and was granted a land grant in 1792 by the new provincial government. The purpose of the grant was so that a new mission church could be built on the island.

Chapel Island Reserve, Called Barra Head until the name change in 1958 compared to the historic island, is relatively new. It was given it's land grant in 1834.

There has been an annual mission on Chapel Island (mniku since 1742, making it the longest continuous mission in Canada. The Present church on the island is the sixth church, the fifth one burned down on December 11, 1976.