09/19/2012 10:28 EDT | Updated 11/19/2012 05:12 EST

Innu parents want foster care for gas-sniffing kids

Some parents in the Labrador community of Natuashish want their children placed in foster care so they won't sniff gas.

They say more than 40 kids and young adults are abusing solvents in the community.

One mother says her son has gone through treatment four times, but it hasn't worked.

She believes foster care will keep her son safe.

"It makes me feel terrible, but I have to put my feelings as a mother and my love for him aside above everything, because his safety is more important," said the woman, whose identity is being protected by CBC News.

She says her son will be better off in foster care in Ontario — and he'll be able to take a longer treatment program.

Another mother from Natuashish has already sent her son out to Ontario.

She worries about him. She says a number of people have committed suicide due to gas-sniffing.

"I usually cry when I think about him," the second mother said. "I thought about other parents in the past that lost their kids and I don't want my son to go through that, I don't want to lose him like that."

Parents are asking the provincial government to help them find foster homes for their children outside the community.

They are meeting this afternoon to discuss what they say is a crisis in the community.

From Davis Inlet to Natuashish

The fact that young people are sniffing gas in Natuashish today revisits the issue from a decade ago when Innu still lived in Davis Inlet.

National attention was thrust on Labrador in light of haunting images of young people wandering around Davis Inlet, sniffing gas and screaming they wanted to die.

Subsequently, in December 2002, the Innu of Davis Inlet were moved to a new settlement in Natuashish with better services and living conditions.