Big Joey says Spooky should never turn his back on a friend, even if he has betrayed the old ways and those...
In Tomson Highway's Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing, Joey's misogyny, Simon's traditionalism and Spooky's Christianity all speak to the decline of the way of life for Canadian Natives.
Big Joey says Spooky should never turn his back on a friend, even if he has betrayed the old ways and those of his own father, their spiritual leader:
...you turn your back on your own father, Nicotine Lacroix's spiritual teachings and pretend like hell to be this born-again Christian.
Simon's traditionalism supports this sentiment. All Simon wants to do is return to the way things used to be. Simon wants Spooky to allow Rosie Kakapetum (the midwife—symbolic of the old ways) to deliver Spooky's greatly anticipated baby. His description of the birth of babies in modern hospitals shows his personal rejection of the new and non-traditional way his people are living:
They pull them away right from their own mother's breast the minute they come into this world and they put them behind these glass cages together...like they were some kind of scientific specimens.
Then Spooky challenges Simon: if Rosie is really a medicine woman, why can't she cure Dickie, who has never spoken. Simon says:
Because the medical establishment and the church establishment and people like you, Spooky Lacroix, have effectively put an end to her usefulness and the usefulness of people like her everywhere...
Simon, in turn, challenges Spooky's faith, asking why his Bible has not been able to cure Dickie either. As Spooky struggles, Creature reminds him of what his father, Nicotine Lacroix, said in response to the lies told to the Natives about "religion:" that worshiping in a manner other than the "Christian way" does not mean that a man will automatically go to hell. Nicotine said:
What the priests said about me—about us—is not right! Respect us. Respect all people!
Simon also speaks to Big Joey's misogyny. He accuses the men of having given up:
You and your generation...Scared...to face up to the fact it's finally happening, that women are taking power back into their hands, that it was always them—not you, not men—who had the power, the power to give life, the power to keep it.
Big Joey's misogyny was born of fear—manifesting itself at the bar on the night of Dickie's—his own son's—birth after Black Lady Halked had been drinking there for days:
...Big Joey...he was the bouncer there that night, when he saw the blood, he ran away...
When Dickie rapes Patsy, Big Joey stands hidden—doing nothing, later defending Dickie. Zachary asks how he could do it? Big Joey recalls being at Wounded Knee in 1973, when the FBI "beat us to the ground." In a recurring dream, he's there again and bleeding: "I lost myself." Then Dickie's delivery made it very real. When Zachary again asks how he could do it, Big Joey replies:
Because I hate them! I hate them...bitches. Because they—our own women—took the...power away from us faster than the FBI did.
For Joey, it was all about power and control: having no power and feeling out of control—but directing his anger at women instead of placing it where it truly lies.