Born August 12, 1952, in Bismark, North Dakota, Kathy Whitman was raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Enrolled as a member of the Mandan tribe, she derives her tribal affiliation from her father who is of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes. Her mother is of Norwegian descent.
It was during a Sun Dance Ceremony in 1977, in South Dakota, that she received her Indian name, Elk Woman. The ceremony transformed her life and guided her on a stronger path. That experience helped reconnect her with traditional ways and guided her toward a more positive spiritual direction.
Kathy Whitman has been an artist-in-residence and a board member of the North Dakota Council of the Arts. Her art has won numerous awards and honors at many prestigious events including Santa Fe Indian Market; Northern Plains Tribal Art Show; San Juan Batista, Eight Northern Pueblos, and at the Gallup Indian Ceremonial art show.
Known primarily for her sculpture of alabaster, soapstone, and marble, she is also recognized as an accomplished painter and jeweler. Evidence of this is, Kathy has been a consistent award winner at the Santa Fe Indian Market.