"Throughout New England were names telling where plants could be gathered, shellfish collected, mammals hunted, and fish caught. Abessah, in Bar Harbor, Maine, was the ‘clam bake place.’ Wabaquasset, in Providence, Rhode Island, was where Indian women could find ‘flags or rushes for making mats.’ Azoiquoneset, also in the Narragansett Bay area, was the ‘the small island where we get pitch,’ used to make torches for hunting sturgeon at night. The purpose of such names was to turn the landscape into a map which, if studied carefully, literally gave a village’s inhabitants the information they needed to sustain themselves. Place-names were used to keep track of beaver dams, the rapids in rivers, oyster banks, egg-gathering spots, cranberry bogs, canoe-repairing places, and so on. Some were explicitly seasonal in their references, just as the Indian use of them was. Seconchqut Village in Dukes County, Massachusetts, was ‘the late spring or summer place.’ The Eackhonk River in Rhode Island was named to mark ‘the end of the fishing place,’ meaning the inland limit of the spring spawning runs. Unlike the English, who most frequently created arbitrary place-names which either recalled localities in their homeland or gave a place the name of its owner, the Indians used ecological labels to describe how the land could be used."
—Cronon, “Changes in the Land”