Few records exist on the history of the native flute. North American indigenous people did not have a written language pre-Columbian time but instead, preserved their history through storytelling. Many theories of the native flute begin with holes drilled into tree branches by insects or woodpeckers.
During the nineteenth century, Plains-style flutes were believed to originate from the Northern Ute tribe. Plains-style flutes were made of wood and had a duct cut into the flute's body. There is debate over the distinction between the Plains-style and the Woodlands-style flute. Such differences include the use of a spacer plate, the flue's placement, and the mouthpiece's design.
Unfortunately, the Federal government suppressed Native cultures, and traditional practices of making and playing the flute nearly became extinct until the 1960s.
Today, the native flute is widely played throughout the world. Flute Circles are bringing people together of all cultures and backgrounds to appreciate the beauty and sound of the traditional native flute.