Onward Ever: The Becoming of Indiana’s White River
Discussion Questions

  1. The first line of the film is, “The narrative…has been, ‘It’s bad, it’s dirty, don’t touch it.’” Why do you think the filmmaker draws our attention that the “narrative” about the river right away?
  2. Another early voice in the film says, historically, the White River has been “simply a utility.” What does he mean? Do you agree?
  3. Tim Maloney from the Hoosier Environmental Council says, “Rivers are reflections of what happens on the land.” What does he mean? What’s “happened on the land” to affect the water quality and quality of life in the White River watershed?
  4. Do you agree with illustrator Penelope Dullaghan that spending time in nature can lead to things like growing more confident or becoming more thoughtful and calmer? Why or why not?
  5. Dale Enochs has created several sculptures inspired by the White River, including ones at the Indianapolis airport and one at the statehouse. Do you think the White River is a good symbol for Indianapolis and Indiana? Why or why not? 
  6. Jaimarsin Lewis, who volunteers with Indianapolis’s MLK Center, helps clean up the trash along the White River. Have you ever volunteered on a clean-up project? What motivates you? How important is it to get more people involved in clean-ups and nature restoration efforts?
  7. Dave Forsell from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful says, “Beauty is something most people need.” Do you agree? Is the White River a source of beauty for central Indiana? If not, what would it take to make it so?
  8. Linda Broadfoot of Indy Parks says people are “desperate” for the tranquil experiences one can have on or near water. What kinds of experiences would you like to have on and near the White River? How would it change your life to have access to these experiences?
  9. There’s more than one future for the White River imagined by characters in the film. What are some of the different options outlined, and which one is most compelling to you?