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Tohatchi, New Mexico
Location of Tohatchi, New Mexico
Location of Tohatchi, New Mexico
Tohatchi, New Mexico is located in New Mexico
Tohatchi, New Mexico
Tohatchi, New Mexico
Location in New Mexico
Tohatchi, New Mexico is located in the United States
Tohatchi, New Mexico
Tohatchi, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Mexico
County McKinley
 • Total 6.3 sq mi (16.3 km2)
 • Land 6.2 sq mi (16.0 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
6,447 ft (1,965 m)
 • Total 741
 • Estimate 
 • Density 167.8/sq mi (64.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 505
FIPS code 35-78440
GNIS feature ID 0902849

Tohatchi (Navajo: Tó Haachʼiʼ) is a census-designated place (CDP) in McKinley County, New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States. It is known as a health services and education hub along Highway 491. The population was reported to be 785 at the 2020 census. As Tohatchi is located on the Navajo Nation, it is designated federal trust land.


Tohatchi is located at 35°51′1″N 108°45′3″W / 35.85028°N 108.75083°W / 35.85028; -108.75083 (35.850262, -108.750709).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16 km2), of which 6.2 square miles (16 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (2.06%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2010 808
2020 741 −8.3%

As of the census of 2018, there were 825 people, 292 households, and 225 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 167.8 people per square mile (64.8/km2). There were 345 housing units at an average density of 55.8 per square mile (21.6/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.36% Native American, 6.85% White, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 0.10% African American, 0.10% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 2.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.15% of the population.

There were 292 households, out of which 42.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 22.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 2.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.55 and the average family size was 4.18.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 36.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 6.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $28,167, and the median income for a family was $33,750. Males had a median income of $22,917 versus $21,429 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $10,217. About 32.0% of families and 31.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.4% of those under age 18 and 42.9% of those age 65 or over.

In Film

The 1965 film The Hallelujah Trail directed by John Sturges starring Burt Lancaster was shot in nearby locations with the Chuska Mountains serving as a backdrop to some of the movie's most iconic scenes.


Gallup-McKinley County Schools

The three local public schools in Tohatchi are operated by Gallup McKinley County Schools. They include Tohatchi Elementary School, Tohatchi Middle School, and Tohatchi High School. The public schools are located west of Highway 491.

The Tohatchi mascot for the Gallup-McKinley County Schools is a cougar, with the school colors being maroon and gold. The Tohatchi High School Lady Cougars notably won the 2017 New Mexico High School Girls 3-A Basketball Championship.

Before Tohatchi High School was built in the 1980s, the mascot had previously been a bobcat, but the mascot was changed to a cougar sometime in the 1970s. The school colors were different as well.

BIE/BIA schools

Formerly Chuska Boarding School, Ch'ooshgai Community School is a grant school of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) that offers kindergarten through 8th grade. It has a boarding facility.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) previously had a bureau-operated boarding school, Tohatchi Boarding School. The boarding school was shut down after the addition of public schools to Tohatchi. Cindy Yurth of the Navajo Times described it as one of the first such schools on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Its students included children from Tuba City, Arizona. According to Tohatchi Chapter President Edwin Begay, his father told him that the townsite was formerly an area maintained by the school to have swine. In 1979 the school had Navajo language classes and principal Phillip Belone, the latter being one of the few Navajo school principals on the Navajo Nation at the time. The boarding school was shut down after the addition of public schools to Tohatchi.

A School For Me, Inc. (ASMI)

A private, non-profit facility for students with special needs began in 1976 at Chuska Boarding School. The program aimed to provide opportunities for engaging in life skills, academics, and vocational education, as an effort to develop and maintain special education services for the local indigenous community.

ASMI served 76 students in 1977.

Notable people

  • Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, Navajo academic administrator
  • Jennifer Nez Denetdale, educator
  • Juanita, Navajo weaver, wife of Chief Manuelito
  • Chief Manuelito, Navajo tribal leader
  • Shannon Pinto, politician
  • Wilson Halona, decorated Navajo WWI Veteran
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