A woman in a northern Quebec community was shaken and scared, but otherwise safe, after facing down a polar bear to save her children.

Lydia Angiyou, 41, was attacked by the bear on Wednesday night in Ivujivik, a community of 280 people on the northern coast of the Quebec mainland.

Angiyou was with her seven-year-old son and two other young boys when they came across the bear. She says all she could think of was stopping the animal.

"'My boy, my boy, my boy is going to be killed, nothing I can do,'" she recalls thinking at the time. "But I started yelling and after that I felt better when he was far, the boy was far."

The bear clawed at Angiyou and climbed on top of her, but retreated after gun shots were fired. The bear was eventually tracked down and killed.

The children were unharmed.