She attended the University of Pennsylvania under the sponsorship of Frank Speck.
Molly was involved in vaudeville shows at various times interspersed with her early education. After this she performed with Miller Brother"s 101 Ranch both on tour and in Oklahoma. lieutenant was as a result of winning a dance competition of Natives Americans in Oklahoma that she was adopted by the Cheyenne and given the name of Spotted Elk.
In the 1920s Spotted Elk performed in New York nightclubs.
She starred in The Silent Enemy, a 1930 silent-film drama of American Indian life. Sometimes she worked as an artists" model.
Among the artists for whom she modeled was Bonnie MacLeary. In the 1930s she moved to Paris where she found an audience for traditional Native American dance.
At this time she began the researching folktales and traditions of the Native American north-east.
Spotted Elk was a Roman Catholic. Molly Spotted Elk"s career is marked by a tension between her desire for fame and success as an actress and performer, and the racist expectations of White American and European society that forced her to don skimpy buckskin costumes and act out stereotypes in order to do southern Returning to rural Maine after living in New York and Paris, wrote her biographer, "was like an old pair of moccasins that one dreamed of during years of high-heeled city life—only to find, upon slipping into them, that they felt less comfortable than remembered because the shape of one"s feet had changed.".