Powwow dance ends in marriage proposal for young Tuscarora couple

Nakya Leviner and Stevie Lowry are Tuscarora smoke dancers from Pembroke, North Carolina.

‘He got me good,’ said 20-year-old Stevie Lowry about the surprise proposal

Powwow dance ends in marriage proposal

1 month ago
Duration 1:22
Nakya Leviner popped a marriage proposal to Stevie Lowry at the end of a smoke dance during the annual Lumbee Dance of the Spring Moon Powwow.

Nakya Leviner and Stevie Lowry have smoke danced together many times, but the most recent tour around the powwow arena floor ended a bit differently.

At the final beat of the drum, Leviner got down on one knee and popped a marriage proposal in front of family and friends attending the annual Lumbee Dance of the Spring Moon Powwow in North Carolina on May 7. 

A video capturing the special moment went viral across social media.

"He got me good," said Lowry.

"It normally ends like with him down on one knee, like I'm pretending like I'm getting proposed to, and that time I actually got proposed to."

The young couple, both aged 20, are Tuscarora from Pembroke, N.C., about 200 kilometres east of Charlotte. They've been smoke dancing since they both could walk.

Known for its fast-paced footwork, the smoke dance is a unique exhibition and competitive dance of the Kanien'kehá:ka, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations.

The powwow trail has always been an important part of the young couple's lives and relationship. 

"I think the best thing for me is just being around everyone that you love every weekend and just getting to spend that quality time and doing what we love to do," said Leviner.

The young couple, both aged 20, are Tuscarora from Pembroke, North Carolina. (Submitted by Stevie Lowry)

The couple are life-long friends and spend their weekends travelling across the United States and Canada to attend powwows. Last year, their friendship blossomed into romance.

Knowing he was going to propose, Leviner said it was the first time he ever got nervous while dancing. 

"My legs [were] shaking and my hands shaking trying to keep my composure," he said.

"I had the ring on me the whole time before the powwow started … it was burning a hole in my pocket."

Both of their families were in attendance to witness the proposal. 

"It was very heartwarming," said Lowry.

"He's the sweetest person in the world."

They plan to get married during the summer of 2023.


Ka’nhehsí:io Deer is a Kanien’kehá:ka journalist from Kahnawake, Que. She is currently a reporter with CBC Indigenous covering communities across Quebec. Email her at