Orosco Family

by Gage Patinella       

The Gray family was not the sole beneficiary of the National Park Service’s permits to allow grazing within the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument around the time of its estalishment.  Along with the Gray family, Jose Juan Orosco, a Sand Papago Indian, whose family had resided at the desert oasis of Quitobaquito Springs since the late nineteenth century, continued to live his life much as he had prior to the establishment of the monument.[1]  Being as Orosco himself held no legal title to the settlement or water at Quitobaquito, the Indian Service intervened on Orosco’s behalf in 1938 persuading the National Park Service to allow Orosco and his family to continue inhabiting, farming, and grazing their small cattle herd at the oasis without a formal permit or fee.[2] 

From the get go, the Orosco family provided the National Park Service with its fair share of problems.  Orosco built structures and improved upon them without the consent of the NPS, all the while he continued hunting and wood gathering on monument lands.  It is also alleged that the Orosco settlement at Quitobaquito Springs was a focal point for smuggling activities in the area.[3]  In the spring of 1941, superintendent  William Supernaugh advocated formalizing a strict grazing permit for Orosco in an attempt to control his other infractions.  In fact, Orosco was such a problem that the National Park Service director himself, Newton B. Drury, petitioned the help of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in an attempt to gaine Orosco’s compliance, threatening the withdrawal of grazing privileges and even possible eviction.[4]  Despite the National Park Service’s efforts, Orosco and his family

[1] Brenna Lauren Lissoway, “Administrative History of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: The First Thirty Years, 1937-1967” (Master’s Thesis, Arizona State University, 2004), 90.

[2] Ibid., 91.                                                                                     

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.