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Nakoma is a member of the Powhatan Indian tribe and is best friends with Pocahontas. The two girls have been friends for a long time—most likely since childhood—and Nakoma only wishes the best for her friend. Like many of her tribe, she is at first distrustful of the English settlers, but later comes to understand them.
Nakoma's personality is a foil to that of her best friend. While Pocahontas is more free-spirited and mischievous, Nakoma usually tries to be more serious and responsible. She sometimes tries to act as the voice of reason to Pocahontas, much like Kocoum and Chief Powhatan. However, her warnings often go unheeded, especially when she tries to stop Pocahontas from going to find John Smith.
Nakoma sports tan skin like the other Native Americans in her tribe which small black eyes, small nose and mouth. She also has long black hair which is tied up in a bun called tsiiyeel. Clothing-wise, she wears a buckskin outfit similar to that of Pocahontas. However, Nakoma's clothing consists of a 2-piece buckskin crop top which exposes her midriff and navel,and a skirt ensemble, rather than the dress that Pocahontas sports. She also sports a thin white necklace around her neck. Nakoma also goes barefoot like Pocahontas.
After the Powhatan warriors arrive home, Nakoma takes a canoe and goes to find Pocahontas. She finds her friend atop a waterfall and tells Pocahontas that Pocahontas's father Chief Powhatan has returned from a war against the Massawomecks. Nakoma asks Pocahontas to come down; Pocahontas does so by means of a swan dive from atop the waterfall. As a joke, Pocahontas flips the canoe, sending Nakoma into the water. After splashing around a bit, they right the canoe. Pocahontas reveals that she had been thinking when Nakoma asked where she had been. Nakoma makes note the strange dreams Pocahontas has had, which she does understand. Nakoma advises Pocahontas to speak with her father about them. Back at camp, they arrive to hear Powhatan praising Kocoum for his bravery during the battle. Nakoma notes Kocoum's good looks, though Pocahontas notes that Kocoum is very serious.
Nakoma is next seen with Pocahontas, picking corn for the soon-to-arrive warriors. After a brief talk with Powhatan, he decides to send Kocoum for their safety. When Powhatan leaves to do this, Nakoma asks Pocahontas about her recent out-of-the-ordinary behavior. Though Pocahontas denies that anything is wrong, John Smith soon arrives in the corn field. Nakoma attempts to go get Kocoum, but is silenced by Pocahontas. Nakoma is shocked to learn that Pocahontas has met the settler before. After hearing Kocoum approach, Pocahontas leads John away and ask Nakoma to keep quiet about the incident. When Kocoum approaches, Nakoma lies, saying that she had not seen Pocahontas. Before leaving, Kocoum asks Nakoma to speak to Pocahontas about running off, as she apparently listens to Nakoma. After he leaves, Nakoma scoffs about how well Pocahontas listens. Pocahontas, Nakoma, and Kocoum are seen together again the same evening when their tribal allies arrive. Pocahontas asks her father for a word, but in the end, he doesn't listen.
That night, Nakoma catches Pocahontas sneaking out to see John Smith again. Nakoma tells Pocahontas not to go, insisting that she will not lie for Pocahontas again. Pocahontas claims her actions were for the good of her people. Nakoma tries to tell Pocahontas that she might get hurt but Pocahontas denies it and runs off. Fearing for Pocahontas's safety, Nakoma decides to tell Kocoum what happened.
After Kocoum's dead body is taken to the tribe, Nakoma apologizes for her actions, claiming that she only wanted to do the right thing. A saddened Pocahontas tells her that it was her own fault and now John will die because of it. Nakoma decides to take Pocahontas to see John Smith. She is able to gain access for her friend by claiming that Pocahontas wished to see Kocoum's killer with her own eyes (Kocoum had been planning to marry Pocahontas and make her his queen.)
Nakoma is also present at the site where Powhatan was about to execute John Smith, and where the fight between the tribes and the settlers was about to break out. Luckily, thanks to Pocahontas arriving in time to stop the execution and have her father coming to his senses, she is relief that John is safely free and the hostilities between both sides is nullify.
Nakoma is last seen among the tribe watching the departure of wounded John Smith and some of the other settlers. She sheds a tear knowing that the man her best friend loves will be leaving.
In the sequel, Nakoma's role is significantly smaller than her role in the original film. She is seen gathering berries with other women until being distracted by a snowball thrown by Pocahontas. The two play along with animal friends Meeko, Flit, and Percy which eventually leads them to slide down a snowy slope in Nakoma's basket and finding John Smith's compass. The compass saddens Pocahontas, as it reminds her of the news of John's death. Nakoma tells her that time has passed since his death and wants her to move on, but Pocahontas sadly says 'its just too hard to say goodbye.'
In this film, Nakoma's presumably married, as she's seen with a man who resembles Kocoum during the song "Where Do I Go From Here" as shown in the frozen waterfall. Nakoma's later seen briefly at a tribal festival dancing around a fire with Pocahontas. She reacts in shock when her husband accuses her best friend of being a traitor for speaking up for the white men.
Nakoma's last seen when Pocahontas is about to depart to London. She and the rest of the Powhatan Tribe arrive at Jamestown to see her off and she whispers '"Do not forget this land." Pocahontas replies "You [Nakoma] will always be with me." The two girls then tearfully hug each other before Pocahontas slowly leaves. They're presumably reunited when Pocahontas and John Rolfe return to Virginia after their time in London, although this is never shown, making the aforementioned scene Nakoma's final appearence.
- Despite the generally lukewarm reception of the films, she is one of the most popular characters in the Pocahontas film series.
- Nakoma is most likely based on Matachanna, who was a half-sister of the real Pocahontas. She was married to Uttamatomakkin who accompanied Pocahontas on her journey to London in 1616. Matachanna returned to Virginia prior to the death of Pocahontas.
- She sports the Navajo tribe hairstyle.
- Her French voice actress provided the speaking voice of Pocahontas in the French dub of the sequel.
- Her Japanese voice actress also voiced Kiki and Ursula in the original Japanese version of Kiki's Delivery Service and Pai Chan in the Virtua Fighter video game series.
- Nakoma's mentioned by the filmmakers in the commentary for the movie.
- She is the first human best friend to a Disney Princess, the second being Charlotte La Bouff in The Princess and the Frog (Charlotte was the best friend of Tiana).