One fine spring morning, a float plane lands on a lake near the northern Ontario town of Sioux Junction, and three men get out: a judge, a Crown prosecutor and a defence attorney. The trial of Thomas Obomsawin, a native painter who has been accused of setting fire to his mother's house, is scheduled to begin. It soon becomes clear that it is not only the painter who is on trial but everyone in Sioux Junction - from Jo and Cécil Constant, who own the town's only hotel, to the Sauvé brothers, whose decision to close down the sawmill has spelled the death of Sioux Junction, right up to the judge and the lawyers themselves.
But at the heart of this novel is the tumultuous life of Thomas Obomsawin: his life and his art, his wiles and his weaknesses, his talent and his tragedy. Filled with humour and compassion, biting satire and flashing insight, Obomsawin of Sioux Junction is the story of a town—and a country—divided and united by language and history.