After Vietnam and Okinawa with the Marine Corps, Chiago studied commercial art and magazine layout at the Maricopa Technical School.
A joyful participant in Indian dances, Michael uses watercolor with glazes to portray the aesthetic beauty of Indian dances in his painting. He illustrated the tales of his ancestry learned from his grandmother as a child.
His painting was chosen as the image for the poster for March 1990's Heard Indian Fair. The painting used for the poster was titled "Saguaro Fruit Harvesters and the Friendship Dance".
The Americana Art Gallery in Sedona and the Anasazi Gallery in Flagstaff handle his work as well as the Heard Museum's Gift Shop. He illustrated a book by Underhill and Bahr titled Rainhouse and Ocean Speeches for the Papago. The May 1980 edition of Arizona Highways features a Chiago painting denoting the Indians' reverence for the sun.
April 1999 Arizona Highways covered featured "The First Saguaro", another of Michael's paintings. This painting tells the story of how the giant cactus came into existence where a young girl was saddened by her mother's lack of attention. The young girl wandered alone into the desert and there sank slowly into the ground. Years later a saguaro grew where the child disappeared and bloomed in white flowers.