Richard Flittle is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He was born and raised on the plains of South Dakota. Richard served four years from 1965-1969 in the Marine Corps, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. He worked his way to California in late 1972 where he has lived since. Richard is married and has one son and three grandchildren who also live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Richard spent most of his adult life working as a carpenter/builder. After retirement he started getting involved in his Native culture, attending Inipi (sweat lodge) and other ceremonies. During that time he attended a drum making workshop and immediately knew he had found his calling for the next part of his life. That was November 2009 and he has been making drums ever since. He spends a lot of time selling his drums on the Pow Wow trail in central and northern California. Richard drums have found homes in many countries around the word.
Richard's wife Karen makes the beautiful wool
bags that fit Richard's creations perfectly.
I took a drum making workshop in 2009 in Mt Shasta, CA, from a friend who had been making drums for 20 years. It was then I decided this is what I wanted to do in my retirement. My teacher bent over backwards to provide me with all the information I would need to get started, including all her contacts and suppliers. It has turned into a passion and I'm always working on some sort of project. Since then I have made, and taught others to make, nearly 1,000 drums.
Drums are a universal instrument used by peoples and cultures all around the world. My inspiration for making drums comes from Native American traditions and culture. On my Mother's side of my family I am part Oglala Lakota Sioux. My Great Grandmother came to The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in SD during the 1870s when all of the last free roaming bands of Indians were ordered to report and register or be considered hostile and hunted down and killed. I have had relations living there ever since. And since I started making drums I am starting to connect with relatives that I didn't know I had. The Creator has Blessed me with a new direction in my life and an ever expanding Native connection. I am humbled every day by the Blessings I receive in this world, and it is my desire to get good drums in the hands of as many people as I can so they can also enjoy the calming, healing and joy that comes from playing drums. I would be honored to help anyone who wants to add a drum to their future.
MITAKUYE OYASIN (We Are All Related)