From Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America, by Pekka Hämäläinen (Liveright, 2022), Kindle pp. 226-228:
The Natchez war had shown, with graphic immediacy, what disregard for Indigenous sovereignty, traditions, and needs could bring: cataclysmic violence, massive loss of life and property, the utter collapse of colonial institutions. The violence discouraged French investments in the colony and impeded France’s empire-building in the lower Mississippi Valley. It also taught the colonists how little they could do without Native approval. In Louisiana, Indigenous customs prevailed, turning a colonial space into a hybrid one. Choctaw, Illini, Quapaw, and Apalachee societies were all intact, and they expected the French to comply with their traditions. The consequences for Louisiana were far-reaching. Métissage—cultural mixing—became the norm, shaping the most intimate aspects of the colonists’ lives: sexual practices, gender roles, and child-rearing. The French in Louisiana came to realize that to survive in North America, newcomers needed to embrace its Indigenous inhabitants and convince them to become allies. The French had been doing so elsewhere, and by the early eighteenth century, all the European empires had grasped, if not necessarily accepted, that reality. They had also learned that the most effective way of building alliances was generosity and trade, which could turn enemies into kin.
In the wake of the war and loss, French officers set out to appease the Indians with gifts and goods, creating a robust frontier exchange economy that stabilized French relations with the Indians. A new and improved French-Indian alliance centered on the Choctaw Confederacy, which, even after losing hundreds of its members to South Carolina slave raiders, numbered more than twelve thousand people and could mobilize five thousand soldiers. The Choctaws commanded more than twenty-five thousand square miles, overshadowing the neighboring Quapaws, Alabamas, Chickasaws, Taensas, Tunicas, Natchez, and Houmas. Their own slave-catching and -trading had garnered for the Choctaws a sizable arsenal of guns, turning them into a domineering military power in the lands between the lower Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. They also welcomed a regular flow of English trading parties from the east. Weakened Native groups on Choctaw borderlands found shelter in their fortified towns, and the French asked the Choctaws to help restore order to Louisiana. The Choctaws punished the Chickasaws and Natchez, whose raiding operations destabilized the colony and disrupted trade; the Choctaws wanted an economically viable French Louisiana that could continue to supply them with guns, powder, lead, tools, and other goods.
The Choctaws were fighting for themselves. As much as the French officials wanted and needed to claim suzerainty over them, they could not deny that the Choctaws were the masters of the lower Mississippi Valley. When traders from the newly established colony of Georgia visited, the Choctaws welcomed them and their goods—to the dread and embarrassment of French officials. The Choctaw Confederacy had become Louisiana’s last best hope—a humiliating role reversal that the commandant of the New Orleans troops was forced to accept. He called the confederacy “the bulwark and security” of the colony and admitted that “none of those who have come to the country fail to be aware of the impossibility of keeping a country as vast as the one we occupy with the few troops and colonists who are there and who would soon be obliged to depart from it if the Choctaws refused us their assistance and decided to act against us.”