06/22/2017 12:11 EDT | Updated 06/22/2017 15:22 EDT

Child and youth advocate urges change: indigenous communities 'must be heard'

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's child and youth advocate wants the province to put local communities at the heart of efforts to protect indigenous children at risk.

Jackie Lake Kavanagh says there's a chance for a new approach to child welfare as the government reviews related laws.

She says aboriginal communities must be heard when it comes to culture-based solutions that consider historic roots of addiction and neglect.

Lake Kavanagh wants the province to build new supports that actively involve leaders and residents to increase long-term success.

She says community healing that goes beyond typical child welfare approaches is needed in communities such as Natuashish, formerly known as Davis Inlet.

Leaders there trace recent suicides and gas-sniffing to addiction issues that go back to when the formerly nomadic Innu were settled in Labrador.