St. Michaels, Arizona

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St. Michaels, Arizona
Census-designated place
Location in Apache County and the state of Arizona
Location in Apache County and the state of Arizona
St. Michaels, Arizona is located in USA
St. Michaels, Arizona
St. Michaels, Arizona
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°39′45″N 109°5′42″W / 35.66250°N 109.09500°W / 35.66250; -109.09500Coordinates: 35°39′45″N 109°5′42″W / 35.66250°N 109.09500°W / 35.66250; -109.09500
Country United States
State Arizona
County Apache
 • Total 3.8 sq mi (9.9 km2)
 • Land 3.8 sq mi (9.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 6,740 ft (2,054 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,443
 • Density 378/sq mi (145.9/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 86511
FIPS code 04-62420
GNIS feature ID 0010723

St. Michaels (Navajo: Tsʼíhootso) is a chapter (municipality) of the Navajo Nation Tribe and census-designated place (CDP) in Apache County, Arizona, United States. The Navajo Nation Government Campus is located within the chapter at Window Rock.

The population was 1,443 at the 2010 census.[1]


St. Michaels is located at 35°39′45″N 109°5′42″W / 35.66250°N 109.09500°W / 35.66250; -109.09500 (35.662418, -109.094957)[2] on the eastern boundary of the Defiance Plateau. The community is located on the west side of the Black Creek Valley and Black Creek, a north tributary to the southwest-flowing Rio Puerco.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.9 km2), all of it land.[1]


The St. Michaels area is referred to as Ts'ithootso in the Navajo language and translates to "area that extends out in yellow and green." The microclimate was originally referred to by its Spanish translation Cienega Amarilla (Spanish: "yellow meadow") describing the late summer yellow flowers and grass. The area was first noted by the U.S. military in 1850 when Lt. James Harvey Simpson named it Sieneguilla de Maria.

In the 1850s a planned ambush against local Navajos was thwarted by a man who went on to become a signatory to the Navajo Treaty of 1868.[3] Delgadito (Chách'oshnééz ((“Tall Syphilis”)) successfully alerted Navajos preparing for a prisoner exchange with Mexican slave-holders.[4]

Saint Michael Convent[edit]

Construction on the Franciscan Mission began in 1896 using financing from Rev. Mother Katharine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Rev. Anselm Weber took over construction on October 11, 1897, adopting the name Saint Michaels for the area (from Navajo Tsʼíhootso: "Green Meadow"). St. Michael Parish would be officially founded in 1898.[5]

In 1910, Fr. Berard Haile prepared a Navajo ethnologic dictionary at the Franciscan Mission.[6]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 1,119
2000 1,295 15.7%
2010 1,443 11.4%

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 1,295 people, 306 households, and 247 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 338.5 people per square mile (130.5/km²). There were 360 housing units at an average density of 94.1/sq mi (36.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.12% Native American, 7.03% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 0.77% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 2.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 306 households out of which 50.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 25.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.0% were non-families. 13.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.96 and the average family size was 4.48.

In the CDP the age distribution of the population shows 40.8% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $34,107, and the median income for a family was $28,839. Males had a median income of $41,964 versus $24,531 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,572. About 20.3% of families and 22.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.3% of those under age 18 and 27.3% of those age 65 or over.


St. Michaels is a part of Window Rock Unified School District and is served by Window Rock Elementary School, Tse Ho Tso Middle School, and Window Rock High School.

The community is also served by the Saint Michael Indian School, a K-12 private, Catholic school established by Saint Katharine Drexel in 1902. Saint Michael Indian School is a member of the National Catholic Education Association and the Diocese of Gallup Catholic School System.

Health Care[edit]

St. Michaels is served by the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital at Fort Defiance.[9]