Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Rep. Winkler Attends Red Lake Independence Day Parade/Powwow


Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, originally from Bemidji, visits with Red Lake Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., Tribal Treasurer Annette Johnson, and Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong.

Minnesota House Majority Leader, and Bemidji native, Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL) District: 46A, attended Red Lake Independence Day celebrations, parade and powwow Saturday, July 6, 2019.

Red Lake Nation's annual independence day parade and celebration (July 6) commemorates the tribe's formal sovereignty under an 1889 land agreement with the U.S. government. The tribe's political sovereignty is a point of pride for members. Red Lake is one of only two "closed" reservations in the country, its land never ceded to the US, and held in common by its members.

Winkler, majority leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives, rode on the Beltrami County DFL float in the parade with Bemidji Representative John Persell. Later, he had the opportunity to greet the crowd at the powwow, saying a few words to those attending after grand entry. Winkler also visited with Red Lake Tribal Officers, Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., Treasurer Annette Johnson, and Secretary Samuel Strong.

"I enjoy coming home for summer events like Independence Day and visit with family, and old friends and school mates from both Bemidji and Red Lake," said Winkler. "Ya can't beat summertime in the North Woods."

"It's also important to maintain government to government relations with Indian Nations," said Winkler. "Partnerships between the Legislature and tribal communities were important in the passing of several bills during the 2019 legislative session. Issues addressed in bills that were passed included improved funding for tribal contract schools, the creation of a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force and removing the requirement that police in federally recognized tribes must have consent from the county sheriff to enforce state laws."

Winkler/Flanagan, Majority Leader/Lt. Governor, Succeed Each Other

In 2006, Winkler ran for and won a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing Golden Valley, St. Louis Park and Plymouth.

In May 2015, Winkler announced he would resign effective July 1. His wife at the time Jenny, accepted a job as an executive with the Rezidor Hotel Group, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium and his family moved there to support her.

The Minnesota Post wrote at the time that the legislature would miss Winkler as he "brought a combination of passion and biting wit to the Minnesota House."

Peggy Flanagan, a DFL activist who lived in the same district, ran for Winkler's seat in a special election and won, succeeding Winkler.

In February 2018, Winkler announced his intentions to run for the legislative office he previously held in District 46A. He was re-elected, succeeding Flanagan who had left the house to run for Lieutenant Governor with Governor Tim Walz, an office Flanagan currently holds. Flanagan, a member of Whiter Earth Nation, is the first person of American Indian heritage to hold that seat.

DFL legislators elected Winkler to serve as Majority Leader in November 2018, and he took office in January 2019.

Local Boy: Background on House Majority Leader, Rep. Ryan Winkler

Born and raised in Bemidji, Minnesota, Winkler grew up in a family that worked hard, cared deeply for one another, and gave back to the community. His father owned a small business that built log homes – often employing Ryan and his siblings to help on projects – and his mother was an x-ray technician.

Like most Northern Minnesotans he enjoyed sports and the great outdoors. He grew up playing hockey for his school team and hunted every fall with his family.

As Ryan prepared to graduate from Bemidji High School, he earned a spot at Harvard University. It was an amazing opportunity. While in college, Ryan played club hockey and was editor of the Harvard Political Review. His love of Minnesota history and his passion for social justice led him to write his senior thesis on Hubert Humphrey and the Civil Rights movement.

Rep. Winkler waits to be introduced at the powwow

After graduation, Ryan moved back to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota Law School in 2001. He founded the Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of the American Constitution Society which advocates for a more progressive and inclusive legal system. Following the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision, he led efforts to disclose the sources of corporate money influencing in our elections.

Ryan Patrick Winkler is a member of the DFL party, he represents District 46A, which includes portions of the cities of Golden Valley, Plymouth, and St. Louis Park in Hennepin County.

He was born December 30, 1975 in Bemidji, MN (age 43 years) He was first elected 2006, and is serving in his 6th term, (non-consecutive).

Winkler has worked for 13 years as counsel for Minnesota technology companies, gaining experience in Minnesota's emerging economy. He currently lives in Golden Valley with his three hockey-playing sons and their dog, Scout.


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