The James Smith Cree Nation and University of Saskatchewan have agreed to work together to enhance medical science research.

James Smith’s proposed medical clinic and the university’s medical college have signed a memorandum of understanding.

The partners say the new agreement has the potential to increase medical imaging services and research, put in place a joint radiology research chair and enhance educational opportunities for Indigenous youth.

James Smith Chief Wally Burns says the agreement provides a lot of opportunity for both advancement in medical science research and Indigenous people.

“To me, it’s the first of its kind agreement with any First Nation in Saskatchewan,” he says. “On a positive note, it opens up a lot of doors for many other First Nations, not only just us but looking at the college, science and the whole thing.”

Burns say he hopes this is the first of many similar agreements for James Smith.

The proposed JSCN Medical Clinic would increase access to MRI and other radiology services for U of S researchers.

The private Saskatoon clinic is supposed to have an MRI 3T scanner which is twice as powerful as standard MRI scanners with the ability to provide clear and vivid images of brain, vascular, musculoskeletal and small bone imaging.

There is only one other MRI 3T scanner in Saskatchewan and at present U of S researchers do not have sufficient access.

It is also hoped the partnership will help establish training programs for radiologic technologists, MRI technicians and related health care professionals at the U of S.

(PHOTO: James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns. Photo courtesy of