Grant was born in Hydeburg Alaska, but was raised in Ketchican She is a Kaigani Haida of the Raven Clan from the Brown Bear house of Hokan. Her family crests include Two-Finned Killer Whale, Shark, Berry Picker in the Moon, and Brown Bear. Grant attended the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design in 1987.
Grant broke onto the scene in the early 1980s when she began sketching Haida artwork onto clothing. Grant's first collection was debuted in 1989 and featured 55 pieces. About the collection's debut, Grant has said, "It had a big impact because nobody was doing it at the time". Lisa Tant noted in her article "Dorothy Grant's Haida Couture", for BC Woman, that Grant was the first "Aboriginal designer to combine traditional Haida ceremonial dresswith contemporary fashion." For example, some of her pieces utilize the tapering lines formline of the Haid Ceremonial Copper, notably its central T-ridge. Indeed, Grant has gained international acclaim for producing garments that infuse myth with fabric and for using fashion to share Canadian Northwest culture with a broader audience. This event brought much demand for Grant's work, "I just remember being so busy for several months after that with people coming and wanting to order things". In 1994, the Dorothy Grant Boutique opened at the Sinclair Centre in Vancouver, BC.
Grant's critics have accused her of "going commercial", however Grant refutes such claims, arguing that if fashion products are produced with a "certain finesse that represents Haida culture and Canada, I don't think that's a sell-out. I think that's a positive step toward creating an employment for Native people and a national identity."
By 1999, after five successful years in retail, Grant was granted the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, now Indspire Awards in recognition of her successful venture, the First Nations Drum, Canada's largest First Nations newspaper. Grant closed her retail store in 2008 and moved into a studio in Vancouver’s Soma District
Grant continues to be recognized for both her artistic talent and business skill. In 2003, the Asper Business Institute named Grant "Business Woman of the Year." Six years later, B.C. Aboriginal Business Awards awarded Grant the "Individual Achievement Award."
In 2020, her work was exhibited in the landmark exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.