An aboriginal group in Cape Breton is hoping a traditional Mi'kmaq gathering place on the island will be designated a national historic site.

The Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources says the Malagawatch area —​ an unincorporated area in Inverness County —​ should be recognized for its historic importance.

"Malagawatch has traditionally been a site where Mi'kmaq have gathered resources like hunting, fishing, traditional plants, ceremonial plants for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years," said Annie Johnson, the director of administration at the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources.

The community sits on Bras d'Or Lake and is a year-round home to a handful of Mi'kmaq. There is also a Mi'kmaq cemetery and the site once had a missionary church.

Johnson said long before the cemetery or the church, Mi'kmaq would gather on the shores of Malagawatch.

"Traditionally canoeing from one end of the Bras d'Or to the other — it was always like a meeting spot, a resting place," she said.

"Some people sometimes would stop and camp there for a couple of weeks."

Johnson said the site is a traditional grand council meeting place as well.

The Unama'ki institute has partnered with Cape Breton University to hire a student to research the historic significance of the area. That research will be used in the application to the federal government to get Malagawatch designated a national historic site.