Nakoma is a member of the Powhatan 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 with small black eyes, a small nose, and red lips. She also has long black hair styled in a bun with bangs. 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, much like Pocahontas, but wears boots for wintry weather in the second film.
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, to which Nakoma says she didn't mean her to do it that way. 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 comments on the strange dreams Pocahontas has been having, which she doesn't understand. Nakoma advises Pocahontas to speak with her father about them. Back at the village, they arrive to hear Powhatan praising Kocoum for his bravery during the battle. Nakoma comments on Kocoum's good looks, though Pocahontas thinks 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 cornfield. 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 asks Nakoma to keep quiet about the incident. When Kocoum approaches, Nakoma lies, saying that she had not seen his betrothed. Before leaving, Kocoum asks Nakoma to speak to her about running off, as Pocahontas 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.
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 and that she will be branded as a traitor if she disobeys her father's orders not to leave the village. Pocahontas claims her actions were for the good of her people. Nakoma tries to convince Pocahontas that she might get hurt, but she 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.
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. When Pocahontas arrives in time to stop the execution and bring her father to his senses, Nakoma is relieved to see John safely freed, and the hostilities between both sides nullified.
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 "it's 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" 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 appearance.
- Despite the generally lukewarm reception of the films, Nakoma 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.
- The type of bun she sports is called a tsiiyéél— a Navajo tribe hairstyle.
- Her French voice actress provided the speaking voice of Pocahontas in the French dub of the sequel.
- Nakoma is mentioned by the filmmakers in the commentary for this movie.
- She is the first human best friend to a Disney Princess, the second being Charlotte La Bouff to Tiana in The Princess and the Frog.