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About the Film

“How Can I Keep On Singing?”

This 56 minute PBS program portrays frontier life in central Washington State at the end of the 1800s. It combines poignant music, the lush images of cinematographers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin, and the powerful, evocative language of Washington poet Jana Harris and Native American writers Jeannette Armstrong and Mourning Dove to capture the imagination and stimulate the senses. With its focus on family life, especially the contributions of women and girls, the film resonates with viewers who are often unresponsive to traditional history teaching. Great care has been taken to present North American frontier life accurately. All of these elements combine to make it a powerful springboard for discussion and historical exploration.

The content of this film is appropriate for adults and elementary and high school classrooms and is especially useful for Washington State History, United States History, Women’s Studies, and Native American History/Studies. College professors will also find it helpful as adjunct material to stimulate discussion among adults. Although the content of the film is historical, the vehicle of its delivery is aesthetic, making it a valuable resource for photography, writing and literature classes.