He was born in New York, but his father divorced and remarried, and he was raised on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation near Woodruff, Wisconsin. Whitecloud studied in New Mexico and California, receiving his degree in medicine from Tulane University. Throughout his life, he worked with institutions like the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to further Indian causes. He lived in Louisiana and Texas, and was a consultant for the Texas Commission on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse for Indians at the time of his death in 1972.
"Blue Winds Dancing" (1938), Whitecloud's most famous story, is about a young man's struggle to exist in ancient and modern America. It consists of a lyrical account of his journey home, and is widely taught in university literature classes. The story stands out in contemporary literature for its acceptance, lyrical prose, vivid imagery, and social observations.