DeCorah-Barta, Reva Maureen: AIM National Secretary

Submitted to News From Indian Country 8-07

Reva Maureen DeCorah-Barta, a Citizen of the Ho Cank Nation and National Secretary of the American Indian Movement (AIM) passed away early August 9, 2007.

Services were conducted starting Aug. 10, at the Ho Chunk Center just north of the BIA headquarters in Winnebago, Nebraska. Traditional wake services began at that time under the direction of Ho Chunk Elder, Mr. Warner Earth. Her body was returned to "feed the grasses of sacred Grand Mother Earth" at the Rave Cemetery just northeast of Winnebago on Sunday August 12th

Reva was born March 1, 1934 and raised, as a young girl, in Winnebago to Edna Rave and Henry Thomas DeCorah, later moving to Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Reva entered the Air Force of the United States military as a young woman, as did six of her siblings.

She returned to the area after the service where she met and married the late George E. Barta. They made their home in Sioux City, Iowa, raising four children, Steven, Susan, Scott, and Sandra. The eldest son Steven passed away in 1968.

Reva eventually began working for the Executive Director of the American Indian Center, Theodore Louise "Theo" Means, which led to her joining AIM along with her husband, president of the local Meatpackers Union.

"George & Reva" became very active in the defense of Indigenous Peoples rights. She and her family participated in AIM protests and "take-overs" in such locations as Gordon, NE, Cass Lake, MN, and the BIA headquarters occupation in Washinton, DC. Due to her expertise in shorthand, typing, and writing, Reva was unanimously elected as the National Secretary of AIM in 1971.

In March of 1973 she entered the siege at "Wounded Knee" along with her daughter, Susan, and "Theo" to help the Oglala Lakota Nation battle against government oppression on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. While Reva was inside, her husband George coordinated the transportation of food, ammunition, and weaponry into the AIM stronghold to assist those under daily government attack. The siege brought world attention to the plight of American Indian people and helped prevent the "termination" of American Indian "Tribes." These efforts insured that Indigenous Peoples could freely practice their Way of Life through such spiritual ceremonies as the Sun Dance, Life Renewal Lodge, and other sacred traditions earlier prohibited by genocidal government policies.

Reva's great, great grandmother, "Morning Glory Woman", was the Principal Spokesperson (misnomer "chief") of the Ho Cank Nation in what is now Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Morning Glory married the French fur trapper, Sebrevierre DeCorah and had many children.

Reva's father, Henry, was a 17 year old World War I army war hero in 1916. He witnessed his father, Foster, killed in action during the heat of battle as their famed "Red Arrow Division" - led by them and other Ho Cank Warriors - pierced through the heavily fortified hills in France known as the "Hindenburg Line" in a defining moment of the war. Foster's gravesite remains in the hills of France, while Henry "Coka" DeCorah, who passed away in 1992, is buried in the military cemetery at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

Reva's legacy continues through her three children, seven grandchildren, a great grand son "Clyde", and a great granddaughter, "Lila." Pallbearers were her grandsons and members of the American Indian Movement.
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